Keliber has completed a four-phase pilot-scale test programme and verified the behaviour of the ore from the company’s largest deposit, Rapasaari, at all stages of the production process. A similar pilot-scale test programme has previously been carried out using ore from Syväjärvi, the mine where quarrying will start first.
In the last phase of the test programme, battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate was produced from spodumene concentrate that had been treated in a high-temperature conversion in a rotary kiln. The hydrometallurgical technology, developed by Metso Outotec together with Keliber, includes soda pressure leaching and other process parts.
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The pilot trial was conducted at Metso Outotec’s demonstration plant, located in Pori. The continuous pilot trial lasted 400 hours, and a total lithium recovery rate of more than 88 percent was achieved. It is a better result than what was estimated in the company’s Definite Feasibility Study published in March 2022.
“We are very pleased with the test programme’s progress and with the results achieved in the pilot trials. We have now verified that we can produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide from not only the Syväjärvi ore but also by using ore from our largest deposit in Rapasaari,” states Sami Heikkinen, Site Manager of Keliber’s Lithium Chemical Plant.