South Africa-based miner Sibanye-Stillwater has approved the commencement of the second phase of the Keliber lithium hydroxide project located in Finland.

Phase two of the Finnish lithium project includes the construction of a concentrator and the development of the Syväjärvi open pit mine in Päiväneva.

According to the mining and metals processing company, the ore supply from the Syväjärvi open pit mine will be scheduled to run concurrently with the commissioning of the concentrator.

Sibanye-Stillwater secured the environmental permit for phase two of the Keliber lithium hydroxide project in December 2022.

The company also said that the capital expenditure for the concentrator is currently projected to be €230m, which is €10m higher than the previous estimate.

The rise in the cost is a result of the revision of the effluent water treatment plant at the Keliber lithium refinery, said the South African company.

Besides, the company said that the project entails an updated aggregated project capital of €656m.

The Keliber lithium project’s equity funding has been secured and completed, with the finalisation of the debt funding in progress.

Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said: “We are pleased to be commencing construction of the lithium concentrator and Syväjärvi mine. The Keliber lithium project remains on track to be the first integrated lithium hydroxide supplier in Europe.

“We look forward to working with all stakeholders to deliver this exceptional project, which will contribute to the regional economy as well as to the growth of our unique portfolio of green metals that aim to reverse climate change.”

Located in Central Ostrobothnia, in western Finland on the Gulf of Bothnia, the Keliber comprises five mining areas, the Päiväneva concentrator, the lithium hydroxide refinery at the Kokkola Industrial Park, and auxiliary facilities at all sites.

In November 2022, Sibanye-Stillwater approved a capital expenditure of €588m to advance the Keliber lithium hydroxide project.