In February 2021, Sibanye-Stillwater announced its entry into the battery metal space with the purchase of a 26.6% stake in Keliber Oy (Keliber), a Finnish mining and chemical company, for a cash consideration of €30 million. Sibanye-Stillwater also has an option to acquire a 50% stake in the Keliber project within two years by funding a larger proportion of the project capital.
Keliber aims to produce battery grade lithium hydroxide to supply the needs of the growing international lithium market. Keliber’s lithium deposits are located in the Kaustinen, Kokkola and Kruunupyy municipalities in Finland, which hosts some of the most significant lithium-bearing deposits in Europe.
First production from Keliber is expected in 2024 with planned annual steady state production of approximately 15,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide. A definitive feasibility study has been concluded and reviewed. Detailed engineering design is targeted for implementation in the second half of 2022.
Planned operations include lithium mines and the concentrator plant in Kaustinen, Kokkola and Kruunupyy, Finland, and a lithium hydroxide plant in Kokkola. The Keliber production process will allow the most efficient use of natural resources with minimal environmental impacts. The production process is also expected to be one of the most cost-effective worldwide.
At 31 December 2021, Keliber had an attributable Mineral Resource of 42,500 tonnes at 1.1% lithium oxide (Li2O), and a lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) Mineral Resource of 105,100 tonnes.