From bedrock to batteries
Finnish mining company Keliber is acting at precisely the right time – its goal is to mine the largest lithium deposits in Europe to produce lithium carbonate, for which demand is currently growing faster than new mining projects can be initiated.
“Out of all planned lithium mining projects in Europe, Keliber’s project is clearly the one that is closest to realisation. By refining lithium ore into lithium carbonate, we are able to considerably raise our added value,” says Keliber CEO Pertti Lamberg.
The processing plant will be located in Central Ostrobothnia within the vicinity of the planned mines, and employ an estimated 130-150 employees when it comes online.
According to Lamberg, the price of lithium has doubled or even tripled in a short space of time due to increased demand. The growing demand is driven by the rechargeable battery sector, which is forecasted to grow over 20 per cent per year during the coming decade.
The pre-feasibility report for Keliber’s lithium project shows that it is clearly profitable with the planned production capacity. The ore deposits are extremely suitable for production in terms of their grade and size, and the company now estimates the time is ripe for economic utilisation. Preparatory work for production has progressed well, with production estimated to begin in 2020.
Lamberg describes the location of the lithium deposits as ideal.
“Having the support of the region’s people is important. The region has a long tradition in the chemical industry and high-level metallurgy, and hence there is good availability of skilled labour and competent services,” says Lamberg.
In addition to producing lithium carbonate, the company is heavily investing in creating socially responsible approaches.
“We have done a lot of proactive work in the preservation of nature, like actions related to golden eagle and moor frogs. In addition, we utilise Finnish technology in our production and we strive to find utility purposes for our waste material.”