Tag Archives: Keliber

FLSmidth to provide process engineering input for Keliber’s lithium project

Keliber says it has appointed FLSmidth to provide process engineering services at its Päiväneva concentrator plant in Finland.

The two parties have reportedly agreed on the provision of process, layout and mechanical engineering services at the concentrator.

Hannu Hautala, CEO of Keliber, said: “We have chosen a partner with considerable experience in the mining industry, including lithium production. Our goal is to build a world-class plant that utilises the best available technology, which means safe, environmentally friendly and cost-optimised production.”

Mikko Keto, Mining President at FLSmidth, added: “We are delighted to receive this process engineering order from Keliber. It is a strong proof point of our know-how in the lithium arena, where we have been a leading provider of high-performing equipment, solutions and expertise for well over 20 years. We now look forward to this next step of designing an efficient, world class, concentrator flowsheet, in line with our MissionZero program.”

The award of the contract regarding the concentrator plant continues Keliber’s cooperation with FLSmidth, which will soon also see the completion of the basic engineering of high temperature conversion rotary kiln technology at Keliber’s chemical plant, located in Kokkola.

The concentrator will be built in the Päiväneva area of Finland, which is located on the border of the municipalities of Kaustinen and Kruunupyy, and within the immediate vicinity of Keliber’s lithium deposits. At the concentrator plant, ore will be processed into spodumene concentrate, which will then be transported to the chemical plant in Kokkola, where it will be further processed into lithium hydroxide.

Keliber progressing with Europe’s “most advanced” lithium project

Keliber Oy has come in under the radar, proving up the most advanced lithium exploration project in Europe, according to CEO Pertti Lamberg.

The project in the Central Ostrobothnian lithium province of Finland is now at the offtake and financing stage, having published a definitive feasibility study back in June. If all goes according to plan, construction could start next year and it could be producing either a battery-grade carbonate or hydroxide product in 2020.

The deposit was discovered all the way back in 1956, but interest in developing the asset only started in the past two years as the electric vehicle demand dynamic established itself.

Lamberg said on day one of the Finland Mine Safari event for analysts and investors that the company plans to mine spodumene ore from both open pit and underground at the project, with the 7.4 Mt at 1.04% Li2O reserve base providing 13 years of operations at a mining rate of 570,000 t/y.

This would translate to some 112,000 t/y of 4.5-6% Li2O spodumene concentrate, which the DFS estimated being processed into 10,745 t/y of battery grade lithium carbonate from a plant in the Kokkola Industrial Park on the west of the country.

The DFS envisaged another seven years of operation after year 13, with the plant processing spodumene concentrates from third parties.

Total capital expenditure is pegged at €255 million ($293 million) while the post-tax NPV (8% discount rate) is expected to come in at €295 million. Lamberg indicated that changing the final product to hydroxide would involve only “small” changes to the envisaged process – possibly the use of a bigger plant – but the total operating cost of €4,866/t (including purchased spodumene concentrate) was likely to decrease.

One of the more interesting features of the project is the processing route. Instead of conventional sulphide roasting route to produce a carbonate, Keliber plans to use Outotec’s soda leaching process.

This comes after conventional spodumene concentration and conversion of alpha to beta spodumene in a rotary kiln.

Lamberg said this is a “simple process, has less stages (than sulphide roasting) and gives a very clean product”. The company has proven this at pilot scale and estimates it can produce a >99.5% lithium carbonate at commercial scale.

Sons of Gwalia previously used soda leaching at the biggest lithium hard-rock mine in the world, Greenbushes (now owned by the Talison Lithium joint venture), in the 1980s, but this was in a “batch mode”, according to Lamberg. Keliber’s use will be in continuous mode, he said.

On Finland’s wider lithium potential, Lamberg was positive.

He said the Geological Survey of Finland had recently indicated there could be at least 10 times more lithium in the country, with much of this coming in and around Central Ostrobothnian.