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Keliber lithium hydroxide project, Finland – update

Image of lithium ore

Photo by © Bloomberg

28th April 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Keliber lithium hydroxide project.

Location
Central Ostrobothnia, Finland.

Project Owner/s
Keliber Oy. Sibanye-Stillwater owns a 85% stake in Keliber.

Project Description
The project will include the Kokkola refinery at the Kokkola industrial park.

The project comprises four initial opencast and three underground, highly mechanised mining operations – Syväjärvi and Rapasaari, with Emmes, Outovesi, and Länttä situated across the municipalities of Kaustinen, Kokkola and Kronoby respectively.

The mining operations will supply ore to the Päiväneva concentrator, which will be situated close to the Rapasaari mine. Concentrate produced at the Päiväneva concentrator is planned to be trucked about 66 km to the Kokkola refinery, which is forecast to produce about 15 000 t/y of battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate.

Openpit and underground ore reserves of 12.7-million tonnes (0.92% lithium oxide), and mineral resources of 17-million tonnes (1.02% lithium oxide) support an estimated life-of-mine of 16 years at a forecast average milling rate of about 800 000 t/y.

Potential Job Creation
The project is expected to employ about 150 people.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The updated definitive feasibility study (DFS) has estimated a pretax net present value, at an 8% discount rate, of €510-million, compared with the €295-million estimated in the 2018 DFS.

The pretax internal rate of return has also increased from 24% in the 2018 DFS to 28% in the 2019 updated DFS.

The payback period for the project has decreased from 5.5 years to 3.7 years.

Capital Expenditure
Sibanye-Stillwater approved capital expenditure (capex) of €588-million for the project in November 2022, of which the refinery’s capital cost is €359-million.

Planned Start/End Date
Keliber aims to start production at the chemical plant in 2024.

Latest Developments
Sibanye has reported that the Finnish Minerals Group, which manages the Finnish State mining industry shareholdings, will increase its holding in the Keliber lithium project from 14% to 20% by subscribing for €53.9-million of a previously announced €104-million rights issue.

After the rights issue, Sibanye-Stillwater will retain 79% in the Keliber project, while minority shareholders will hold the balance of the shares in Keliber Oy.

The laying of the earthworks for the Keliber lithium refinery (first phase of the project) began in March, with the foundation stone planned to be laid during a ceremony on May 11.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Metso Outotec (sustainable soda pressure leaching technology).

Contact Details for Project Information
Keliber Oy, tel +358 10 567 0600 or email info@keliber.fi.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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