The North Carolina-headquartered company said Wednesday the significant milestone followed short on the heels of receiving environmental approval from the Australian federal and state government for the Kemerton plant.
Albemarle president Eric Norris said progress with the site earthworks at Kemerton were on track with the company's projections.
"Achieving this milestone underscores our commitment and confidence in developing LiOH operations in Western Australia and in our overall strategy to drive significant shareholder value and meet our customers' demands," he said.
The Kemerton plant will have an initial capacity of 60,000 tonnes of LiOH with an ability to expand to 100,000t over time.
Commissioning of the Kemerton site is expected to take place in stages during the course of 2021.
Albemarle gained 1.05%, or US81c in the first trading day of 2019 to $77.88 per share, giving it a market value of $8.27 billion. However, the equity is still trading 40% lower compared with a year ago.