Finnish mining company Keliber Oy has launched a pilot-scale programme for the possible production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide.
Keliber said the project with Outotec Finland will form part of technical and economic studies to evaluate the feasibility of production.
The company expects the test programme and the studies to be completed during the first quarter of 2019.
Keliber CEO Pertti Lamberg said: “As the cathode chemical producers of batteries for the electric vehicles, to an increasing extent, prefer lithium hydroxide as their lithium raw material, we have initiated a test programme to test the production of lithium hydroxide in pilot scale.”
“We expect to receive results during the coming months and assess the feasibility of battery grade lithium hydroxide production during the first quarter of 2019.”
Keliber said earlier this year there was a “profitable business case” for developing a lithium project in Finland to supply high-quality battery materials for Europe’s “fast-developing lithium markets”.
According to Keliber, the project could produce 11,000 tonnes a year of battery grade lithium carbonate from spodumene-rich pegmatite deposits around the towns of Kaustinen and Kokkola in Ostrobothnia, Western Finland.