Further to the release of the report Lithium Valley: Establishing the Case for Energy Metals and Battery Manufacturing in Western Australia in July, 2018, InfraNomics has been working with industry to develop the Lithium Valley industrial park, an industrial cluster of new energy materials companies.
Some experts posit that industrial clusters must happen organically. Whilst industrial clusters can form this way, for all stakeholders to realise maximum value of an industrial cluster there needs to be a strategic, coordinated effort to develop it. Often this takes the form of an industrial park, with the most successful industrial parks master planned communities that have taken into account the industry, clients, and markets that the industrial park is intended to serve.
Industrial parks offer their residents numerous advantages, such as:
Streamlined approvals. Once the area for the industrial park is identified then blanket approvals for area can be sought from Local, State and Federal government for facilities and operations that operate within a certain set of parameters.
Improved purchasing power. Creating a critical mass of co-located industry enables the park to negotiate contracts for things such as utility prices, thereby reducing costs of inputs such as electricity, gas, and water. The savings realised from these scale negotiations can be quite considerable, often exceeding 10%.
Efficient logistics. Industrial parks can be designed in such a manner that heavy transport movements are optimised around the park, thereby reducing congestion and improving efficiency. Key common user infrastructure can also be included, such as freight links, intermodal hubs, weigh bridges, etc.
Zero Waste. Co-located industries create the opportunities for the re-use of waste streams and process by-products by other residents of the park, such as wastewater or waste heat. This reduces costs for park residents and reduces the overall environmental impact of the industry.
Increased employment opportunities. Industrial clusters develop resource pools with very strong skill sets. The large number of employers in close proximity create genuine career opportunities and all companies will benefit from a workforce that collectively holds a pro-active attitude towards best-practice health, safety and environment behaviours.
Companies often have more than one option when deciding where to locate their facility. Sometimes these options are just various sites within the same geographic area, but sometimes these options include different states or countries. This means that WA needs to ensure there is a solid business case for locating in WA. It is common for countries trying to establish or attract new industry to offer a series of incentives to potential companies. These incentives often include things like free or subsidised land, tax breaks, credits or holidays, or exemption and reductions in import/export duties. These incentives may be offered upfront to interested parties or negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
In Australia, tax breaks and free land are not commonly offered incentives, so to remain competitive we need to consider other options that will cost the State significantly less in the long run but still provide companies with a strong business case for locating their operations in WA. This is where streamlined approvals can provide WA with the edge it needs to stand out from the crowd as a desirable place for investment.
By obtaining pre-approvals for an industrial park, WA can offer potential industrial park residents a level of time and cost certainty regarding approvals that can have a significant material impact on the decision to develop a facility. Also, reducing approvals uncertainty risk improves a company’s ability to complete financing activities and achieve Final Investment Decision.
Making the approvals process easier does not increase the risk that approvals conditions will not be met. In fact, making the approvals process transparent will increase the likelihood of approvals compliance. It will also show that WA understands and supports the development of local industry.
Lithium Valley provides WA with a tremendous opportunity to apply world’s best practices to the development of an industrial park for the new energy materials industry. InfraNomics is working with individual companies, industry, and all levels of government to make sure that WA maximises the benefit from this once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop a sustainable industry that will provide economic benefit to the state and employment to WA residents for decades to come.
If you have any questions on Lithium Valley, the new energy materials, industrial parks, or how InfraNomics can assist your companies with their growth ambitions, please contact us today.
For more information please contact Angela Elliott +61 450 556 533