The South Africa-based miner said that the permit from the AVI gives the company the right to commence operations despite the existence of any appeals


Sibanye-Stillwater gets key permit for Keliber lithium project. (Credit: Chris Wiedenhoff from Pixabay)

South Africa-based miner Sibanye-Stillwater has secured the environmental permit to develop the Rapasaari mine and Päiväneva concentrator at the Keliber lithium hydroxide project in Finland.

The permit for the mine and concentrator was granted by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Western and Inland Finland (AVI).

According to the South Africa-based miner, the Rapasaari mine operations will involve the extraction of ore and waste rock, disposal of the waste rock, and discharging water from the area.

Operations at the Päiväneva concentrator will comprise mineral processing, tailings, and process water treatment, water intake from the Köyhäjoki river, and proper discharge of overflow to the river.

The proposed mining and processing operations approved by the AVI permit are located in Kaustinen, Kokkola, and Kronoby municipalities.

Sibanye-Stillwater said that the permit from AVI gives the company the right to commence operations in spite of the existence of any appeals.

Besides, the permit includes a water management permit for the concentrator.

Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said: “We are pleased to have received this key environmental permit soon after being granted approval for the Keliber lithium refinery in Kokkola, which is preparing for the construction phase to start within the following weeks.

“Our aim is to advance the project within schedule while ensuring our environmental impact is as low as possible while we follow the required processes to ensure all permitting conditions are reasonable, unambiguous and will be practical to implement and adhere to.”

In November 2022, the mining company approved a capital expenditure (CAPEX) of €588m to advance the Keliber project.

The lithium project is owned by Finnish mining and battery chemical firm Keliber in which Sibanye-Stillwater has a stake of 85%. The Finnish Minerals Group holds a 14% stake, while a group of Finnish shareholders owns the remaining 1% in Keliber.