Keliber has completed the first three phases of a four-phase pilot-scale test programme. A high conversion rate of 96.3% was achieved in a continuous high-temperature conversion pilot trial performed in cooperation with FLSmidth.
The purpose of the test programme is to verify the behaviour of the ore from the company's largest deposit, Rapasaari, at all stages of the process, from ore to the end-product lithium hydroxide. A similar pilot-scale test programme has previously been carried out using ore from Syväjärvi, the mine where quarrying will start first.
The test programme started in the autumn of 2021. In the first phase, 130 tonnes of sample material from the Rapasaari deposit were drilled by percussion and diamond core methods. In the second phase of the programme, a continuous minerals processing test was performed at the GTK Mintec's Pilot Plant in Outokumpu. The main stages of minerals processing are the crushing, grinding, classification, magnetic separation, flotation and dewatering. Approximately 50 tonnes of Rapasaari spodumene ore were processed successfully during the pilot trial, resulting in 4 tonnes of spodumene concentrate.
In the third phase of the pilot, the alpha spodumene of the concentrate was converted to beta spodumene in a continuous high-temperature conversion process in a rotary kiln. The high-temperature conversion pilot achieved an average conversion rate of 96.3%. This phase of the test programme was conducted in collaboration with FLSmidth.
The fourth and final step in the test programme is the production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate by soda pressure leaching. Keliber will announce the results of the fourth phase in the coming weeks.
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