Exploration and development firm Keliber has published the results of a definitive feasibility study (DFS) for its lithium project, in Finland, confirming its financial and technical feasibility.
The DFS endows the lithium project with a net present value, using an 8% discount, of €295-million, a pretax internal rate of return of 24% and a payback period of 5.5 years.
The study establishes a capital expenditure estimate of €255-million for the mine, concentrator and chemical plant.
Keliber will use the DFS to qualify the lithium project for construction financing. The company reports that it is progressing negotiations for a combination of debt and equity funding for the project.
The DFS estimates that the project has potential to generate total life of operations revenue of €2.28-billion and operating cash flow €1.21-billion.
Based on current ore reserves, the life-of-mine is 13 years. The project is extended to 20 years by purchasing spodumene concentrates from third parties for seven years after the mine is exhausted.
"The successful completion of the DFS is a crucial milestone and will form a strong base for the company to become the first vertically integrated European lithium producer located near the fast-developing European lithium markets.
“The market for lithium products is extremely strong and demand is forecast to grow rapidly throughout the next decade. At the beginning of the 2030s, lithium consumption is estimated to be seven times higher than current consumption,” says Keliber Oy CEO Pertti Lamberg.
Keliber’s flowsheet selection for the project is a conventional spodumene concentrator, conversion of alpha to beta spodumene in a rotary kiln and a soda pressure leach process to produce lithium carbonate.
The 600 000 t/y concentrator plant will be located in Kalavesi Kaustinen and the chemical plant for lithium carbonate production will be in Kokkola Industrial Park and will produce 11 000 t/y.
The soda pressure leaching process for the lithium carbonate production enables production of battery grade (over 99.5%) lithium carbonate.
The lithium carbonate production process will deliver two by-products, analcime sand and quartz-feldspar sand, which could potentially have a commercial value.
The clean-tech soda pressure leaching process is planned and designed in close cooperation with Outotec.
“Our planned investment is one of the biggest investments in Central Ostrobothnia for decades. Our future production will directly employ about 140 people, with the multiplier effect on employment being even greater,” says chief production officer Manu Myllymäki.