Construction of Keliber’s Lithium Project to Start – Investment of 588 M€
Keliber’s long-planned lithium project is progressing into the construction phase, as preparatory work on the lot of the lithium hydroxide refinery will be kicked off still before Christmas. The refinery will be built in Kokkola Industrial Park (KIP), and it will produce lithium hydroxide, which is needed in electric vehicle batteries, among other uses.
“Starting the construction of the refinery is a significant milestone in Keliber’s lithium project, which is now proceeding into the implementation phase. The schedule allows us to ramp up production in 2025, which is good news for the Finnish battery cluster as well as for the whole Kokkola region, where the project means job opportunities and increased vitality”, says CEO Hannu Hautala.
The capital expenditure of the Keliber project is estimated to be EUR 588 million. The project is based on integrated production: in addition to the lithium hydroxide refinery, the project plan includes a concentrator plant at a distance of 66 kilometres, on the border of the municipalities of Kaustinen and Kronoby, and mining sites. Construction of the concentrator and the near-by Rapasaari mine will be started once their environmental permits have been granted.
The construction phase is estimated to employ up to 500 people, approximately half of them at the site of the lithium hydroxide refinery. Once production has reached the steady stage, Keliber will employ directly and through contractors approximately 300 people.
“The construction start will speed up our direct recruitments as well those of our partners. We are in the process of finalising large technology contracts, and we will continue detailed planning and tendering”, says Hannu Hautala.
Energy and material efficiency as a strength at the refinery
The lithium hydroxide refinery will consist of several buildings, with a total area of more than 20,000 square metres. The construction phase will start with preparatory work on the lot, such as fencing the area, followed by earthworks, after which the production building foundations will be constructed.
Keliber’s lithium hydroxide production is based on soda leaching technology, which benefits from material and energy efficiency. Energy sources will be steam, natural gas and electricity, which contributes to Keliber’s relatively low CO2 emissions in comparison with current lithium hydroxide production chains. Circulated process water will account for about 80 per cent of the refinery’s total process water consumption. The side stream created in the process, analcime sand, can be used in construction, primarily in the expansion of the Kokkola harbour.
“Our location in Kokkola Industrial Park supports our sustainability targets, as KIP is known as the pioneer of the circular economy in Finland. High-quality infrastructure and service offering combined with good traffic connections contribute to efficient material and energy flows”, says Sami Heikkinen, Manager of the lithium hydroxide refinery.
The planned annual production of the lithium hydroxide refinery is 15,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide monohydrate. Its main raw material is spodumene concentrate, which Keliber will produce from its own ore. However, during the ramp-up period Keliber is planning to rely on purchased spodumene concentrate from outside suppliers, because the concentrator plant will be built later than the lithium hydroxide refinery.
Keliber aims to be the first company in Europe to start the production of lithium hydroxide from own ore, which is still possible within the current time frame. In any case, the unique Keliber project is securing European access to lithium, which is an indispensable raw material in the green transition.
For further information, please contact
Hannu Hautala, CEO, Keliber, tel. +358 (0)40 712 2432, firstname.lastname@example.org
Heikki Pekkarinen, Chief Project Officer, Keliber, tel. +358 (0)400 293 682, email@example.com
Sami Heikkinen, Site Manager, Lithium Hydroxide Refinery, Keliber, tel. +358 (0)40 181 3051, firstname.lastname@example.org
Keliber is a Finnish mining and battery chemical company that aims to start the sustainable production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide, utilising its own ore. Keliber is a subsidiary of Sibanye-Stillwater, a multinational mining and metals Group, with Finnish Minerals Group as the second largest shareholder, a state-owned company developing the value chain of lithium-ion batteries.
Disclaimer: Forward-looking statements
The information in this announcement may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbour” provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements, including, among others, those relating to Keliber Oy or to Sibanye Stillwater Limited (“Keliber” and/ or the “Group”) and senior management and directors of Keliber, the Keliber financial positions, business strategies, plans and objectives of management for future operations, are necessarily estimates reflecting the best judgment of the senior management and directors of Keliber.
All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this announcement may be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements also often use words such as “will”, “forecast”, “potential”, “estimate”, “expect” and words of similar meaning. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to future events and circumstances and should be considered in light of various important factors, including those set forth in this disclaimer. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such statements.
The important factors that could cause the Group’s actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, among others, our future business prospects; financial positions; debt position and our ability to reduce debt leverage; business, political and social conditions in Finland, Europe and elsewhere; plans and objectives of management for future operations; our ability to obtain the benefits of any streaming arrangements or pipeline financing; our ability to service our bond instruments; changes in assumptions underlying Keliber’s estimation of their current mineral reserves and resources; the ability to achieve anticipated efficiencies and other cost savings in connection with past, ongoing and future acquisitions, as well as at existing operations; our ability to achieve steady state production at the Keliber project; the success of Keliber’s business strategy; exploration and development activities; the ability of Keliber to comply with requirements that they operate in a sustainable manner; changes in the market price of lithium, the occurrence of hazards associated with the project and its technical implementation; the occurrence of labour disruptions and industrial action; the availability, terms and deployment of capital or credit; changes in relevant government regulations, particularly environmental, tax, health and safety regulations and new legislation affecting water, mining, mineral rights and business ownership, including any interpretations thereof which may be subject to dispute; the outcome and consequence of any potential or pending litigation or regulatory proceedings or other environmental, health and safety issues; power disruptions, constraints and cost increases; supply chain shortages and increases in the price of production inputs; fluctuations in exchange rates, currency devaluations, inflation and other macro-economic monetary policies; the occurrence of temporary stoppages of operations for safety incidents; the ability to hire and retain senior management or sufficient technically skilled employees; failure of information technology and communications systems; the adequacy of insurance coverage; spread of contagious diseases, such as coronavirus (“COVID-19”).
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