Finnish investor Business Finland has granted mining and battery chemical company Keliber Technology Oy investment funding of €7-million.
The funds are intended for the acquisition of technology that significantly improves environmental protection in lithium hydroxide production and also enables the use of a side stream from production.
Keliber plans to build a lithium chemical plant at Kokkola Industrial Park and the production process will be based on novel soda leaching technology.
Compared with an alternative production process, soda leaching saves energy and promotes the circular economy.
The Kokkola Industrial Park, in Finland, is Northern Europe’s largest concentration of chemical manufacturers, housing 15 production plants and about 60 service companies.
Some of Business Finland’s funding has been earmarked for the acquisition of equipment for handling the analcime sand.
The project is part of the Smart Mobility and Batteries from Finland programme.
The grant from Business Finland, which is dependent on Keliber obtaining an environmental permit, promotes the development of a sustainable battery industry in Finland and supports the European Union-level transition to low-emission transport.
"We are delighted about this remarkable investment grant, which strongly supports Keliber’s actions for minimising environmental impact. Our activities promote self-sufficiency in the European battery value chain, and, simultaneously, we are creating new jobs in Finland," says Keliber CEO Hannu Hautala.
JSE- and NYSE-listed precious and battery metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater is a major shareholder in Keliber.