Sibanye-Stillwater (JSE: SSW, NYSE: SBSW) has received the environmental permit for its Keliber lithium mining and processing project in Finland.
According to the company, the approvals for the project’s Rapasaari mine and Paivaneva concentrator include the right to start operations despite the existence of any appeals.
Keliber is an advanced lithium project, located in Kaustinen and Kokkola, and it aims to be the first European producer of battery-grade lithium hydroxide from its own mined ore reserves.
Sibanye took control of Finnish battery chemicals maker Keliber last October when it raised its shareholding to 85%, after acquiring an initial stake in February.
The refinery “is preparing for the construction phase to start within the following weeks,” said Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman in a statement.
In November, the Sibanye board approved €588 million ($634.2 million) in spending that will start with the construction of a lithium hydroxide refinery in Finland’s Kokkola industrial park, from where the company plans to feed into the European battery sector.
Apart from Keliber, Sibanye is partnering with Ioneer Ltd to jointly develop the Rhyolite Ridge lithium project in the United States.
(With files from Reuters)