Kathy Lewi

Tianqi Lithium

Kathy Lewi – Superintendent Process

Kathy is one of Australia’s leading metallurgical engineers and leads the commissioning of the Tianqi lithium hydroxide refinery in Kwinana – a billion-dollar plant that will be the first of its kind outside of China. Her career journey reflects the changing nature of both Australian society and the mining and resources sector, given she started out at a time when women couldn’t apply for a housing loan and regularly faced sexism in her early roles. Kathy is highly-regarded for her mentoring activities, which include working with fourth-year chemical engineering students at Curtin University, regularly taking on final-year students for vacation work and providing guidance to a wide variety of women in industry. She also regularly speaks at women’s conferences and contributes strongly to company women’s networks.

Kathy has shown an enormous amount of resilience over her 35-year career, balancing motherhood with full-time work, overcoming initial challenges presented by male-dominated environments, helping pioneer production of a new type of alumina hydrate in Australia, and now leading the technical direction of a team of 80 at a facility at the forefront of WA’s ambitions to be a major global player in the battery sector.