How batteries are made and how the future of a new industry hangs in the balance


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In the old fossil fuel heartlands of Australia, a new kind of industry is being built. At Kwinana south of Perth, not far from the chimneys and silos of a decommissioned oil refinery, land has been secured to produce highly refined battery minerals. In Geelong, where Ford built cars for almost a century, work is underway on a lithium-ion battery "gigafactory". In the Hunter Valley, where coal is king, another gigafactory has just opened. And earlier this month, it emerged that lithium, a central ingredient for batteries, will soon be worth more to WA than oil, gas and coal combined....