Keliber lithium hydroxide project : Sibanye-Stillwater approves €588m capex


Sibanye-Stillwater has sanctioned capital expenditure (capex) of €588 million for the Keliber lithium hydroxide project in Finland having increased its interest to around 85% in Keliber Oy, a Finnish mining and battery chemicals maker.

According to the South African miner, construction at the Kokkola lithium hydroxide has started, which marks the first phase in the development of the Keliber lithium project situated in the Central Ostrobothnia region of the country.

Located at the Kokkola industrial park, the Kokkola lithium hydroxide refinery is expected to manufacture an average of 15,000 tonnes of battery grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate per annum.

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The lithium hydroxide refinery in Finland will leverage soda leaching technology provided by Metso Outotec and FLSmidth.

Sibanye-Stillwater sanctions capex of €588m for the Keliber lithium hydroxide project in Finland

Sibanye-Stillwater sanctions capex of €588m for the Keliber lithium hydroxide project in Finland. Photo courtesy of Keliber Oy.

Neal Froneman — Sibanye-Stillwater CEO, commenting on the Keliber lithium hydroxide project, said: “We are delighted to advance and grow our presence in the European battery metals industry through Keliber, which we expect will be the first fully integrated European lithium hydroxide producer supplying the European market and is expected to have one of the lowest carbon emission footprints in the industry.

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“We look forward to working with all stakeholders to deliver this exceptional project which will contribute to the Finnish battery metals ecosystem as well as to the growth of our unique portfolio of green metals that reverse climate change.”

Keliber is planning to fund the construction of the Keliber lithium hydroxide project through €146 million, already raised through the issue of new Keliber shares to Sibanye-Stillwater, an additional €104 million through planned equity by the end of January 2023, and a minimum of €250 million of debt.

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Leveraging its own ore, Keliber plans to produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide, which is used in the manufacture of electric vehicles.

In October, the South African miner increased its interest in Keliber from 30% to 85%.

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