Sibanye-Stillwater’s subsidiary Keliber has partnered with Metso Outotec to provide its sustainable soda pressure leaching technology for Keliber’s lithium hydroxide refinery, which will be built in Kokkola, Finland. In addition, Metso Outotec will provide key processes for Keliber’s concentrator plant in Kaustinen, Finland. The combined order value is approximately EUR 120 million, of which EUR 80 million will be booked in Minerals’ 2022 fourth-quarter orders received.
Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery consists of the engineering and supply of most of the equipment for the lithium hydroxide refinery, as well as installation and commissioning services and training. For the concentrator plant, Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery includes engineering and supply of all the main equipment.
“Metso Outotec’s Planet Positive portfolio, which focuses on the most environmentally efficient technologies, supports the potential for the Keliber project to be a world-class lithium hydroxide producer that is among the most sustainable in the world,” comments Hannu Hautala, CEO of Keliber.
“The lithium hydroxide production process has been successfully tested with Keliber’s concentrate in Metso Outotec’s pilot plant during the last few years. Metso Outotec has also provided the basic engineering for the refinery, which has given us with a well-based, detailed technical and economic performance review of the plant. During the planning and piloting stages, new initiatives were also developed to improve the environmental and production performance of both plants,” tells Heikki Pekkarinen, Chief Project Officer.
“We are excited that Metso Outotec has been selected as a partner for Keliber’s world-class concentrator plant and refinery project. Our proprietary soda pressure leaching technology will enable exceptional material and energy efficiency for the lithium hydroxide refinery, contributing to the sustainability and profitability of the whole project,” says Markku Teräsvasara, President of the Minerals business area at Metso Outotec.
Metso Outotec has developed lithium hard rock-related technologies for some 20 years, and collaboration with Keliber started already in the early 2000s. Metso Outotec’s expertise covers the extraction of lithium from brines and spodumene ores up to battery-grade lithium salts. These processes are patented and meet the needs to produce high-end lithium-ion battery chemicals for the growing market.