Innovative Pyro-Processing Technology to Drive Lithium Production at Kokkola Refinery in Finland

Innovative Pyro-Processing Technology to Drive Lithium Production at Kokkola Refinery in Finland

(PRESS RELEASE) COPENHAGEN, 16-Jan-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — FLSmidth (CPH: FLS), a Danish multinational engineering company, and Sibanye-Stillwater’s Finnish subsidiary, Keliber, have signed a contract for the supply of pyro-processing equipment to support the lithium hydroxide refinery located in Kokkola, Finland. The agreement is of great strategic importance to both companies, building on an existing relationship involving testing and engineering for the Kokkola lithium hydroxide refinery.

FLSmidth will deliver the advanced calcining system that will support critical functions in the overall processes in the refinery. The pyro-processing technology includes a two-stage cyclone preheater, a rotary kiln, an indirect rotary cooler, a natural gas-fired rotary kiln burner and a complete off-gas handling circuit. The two-stage preheater rotary kiln represents the state-of-the-art system for facilitating spodumene phase conversion for maximum lithium recovery, while minimizing fuel consumption.

This contract further solidifies FLSmidth’s position as a leading supplier of pyro-processing technology and demonstrates the company’s commitment to innovation and sustainability. The technology will play a crucial role in the Keliber project’s efforts to produce lithium hydroxide, a key component in the production of electric vehicle batteries.

Sibanye-Stillwater’s subsidiary, Keliber, is one of the few lithium development companies in Europe, and is well-positioned to become a major player in the lithium industry. The company’s Kokkola lithium hydroxide refinery will be the first of its kind in Europe and is expected to play a significant role in meeting the growing demand for lithium as the world moves towards cleaner energy sources.

This partnership between FLSmidth and Keliber is a significant step forward for the lithium industry and a boost for the Finnish economy. It highlights the increasing importance of lithium as a key component in the transition to clean energy and the drive to decarbonize the economy.

“The pyro-processing technology is one of our strategic focus areas in the efforts of reducing the energy consumption in mining and by that supporting a more sustainable path for the industry. European lithium mines and refineries are important to the green transition and electrification of the continent, and we are happy to be able to participate in this state-of-the-art project,” comments FLSmidth CEO Mikko Keto.

The Keliber project has previously piloted FLSmidth’s technology using Keliber’s own spodumene concentrate.

“We have seen excellent test results, indicating that the FLSmidth technology has the potential to deliver the required output in an energy efficient way,” comments Sami Heikkinen, Site Manager of the future Keliber lithium hydroxide refinery.

The planned annual production from the refinery is expected to be 15,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide monohydrate and is expected to be one of the first integrated operations in Europe to sustainably produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide utilising its own ore.

The value of the order has not been disclosed.


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About FLSmidth
FLSmidth provides sustainable productivity to the global mining and cement industries. We deliver market-leading technology, products and service solutions that enable our customers to improve performance, drive down costs and reduce environmental impact. MissionZero is our sustainability ambition towards zero emissions in mining and cement by 2030. FLSmidth works within fully validated Science-Based Targets, our commitment to keep global warming below 1.5°C and to becoming carbon neutral in our own operations by 2030.

About Sibanye-Stillwater
Sibanye-Stillwater is a multinational mining and metals Group with a diverse portfolio of mining and processing operations and projects and investments across five continents. The Group is also one of the foremost global PGM autocatalytic recyclers and has interests in leading mine tailings retreatment operations. The Group has established itself as one of the world’s largest primary producers of platinum, palladium, and rhodium and is also a top tier gold producer. It produces other PGMs, such as iridium and ruthenium, along with chrome, copper and nickel as by-products. The Group has recently begun to build and diversify its asset portfolio into battery metals mining and processing and is increasing its presence in the circular economy by growing and diversifying its recycling and tailings reprocessing operations globally. For more information, visit our website at



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