On June 29, 2020, just before the combination of Metso and Outotec to become Metso Outotec, Finnish hard rock lithium ore to battery grade lithium hydroxide project developer Keliber Oy and mineral processing technology provider Outotec signed an agreement regarding the basic engineering of Keliber’s Päiväneva concentrator. Outotec will design the concentrator process and process equipment for the production flow sheet: ore crushing, sorting, grinding and concentration.
The basic engineering of the concentrator is based on the new location of the concentrator next to the main mining sites. Design criteria include environmental, social and economic parameters which will be incorporated in the solution for the concentrator. “We can confidently continue to promote our project with a reliable partner for the concentrator engineering. At the same time, Outotec will provide Keliber with valuable information for the EIA process and the environmental permit”, says Hannu Hautala, CEO of Keliber Oy.
During the first months of 2020, Keliber continued its work towards battery-grade lithium hydroxide production for the needs of the growing international market. To demonstrate the functionality of the production process, a continuous lithium hydroxide pilot was carried out at the Outotec R&D centre. The purity of the product received was extremely high and lithium recovery in the process was better than the one used in the Definitive Feasibility Study in February 2019.
Keliber will operate initially the surface Rapasaari and Syvajarvi lithium (spodumene) mines and the Päiväneva concentrator plant all located some 10 km from Kaustinen. The Päiväneva plant will produce spodumene concentrate and the chemical plant will be located slightly over 50 km away in the Kokkola Industrial Park, near the Port of Kokkola – this location will see the heat treatment and hydrometallurgical processing of the spodumene concentrate to produce lithium hydroxide up to the final product packaging and shipping. Keliber has also opted to increase its annual lithium hydroxide production from 12,500 t to 15,000 t. Construction of the project is now set to start in 2022.
Last December, Keliber reported that it had reached 96.9% conversion degree in a continuous conversion pilot conducted with FLSmidth using a rotary kiln and spodumene concentrate produced from Syvajarvi lithium ore. FLSmidth has been selected for the rotary kiln basic engineering, with Outotec doing the basic engineering for the Kokkola chemical plant.