South African miner Sibanye-Stillwater has received an environmental permit for the Rapasaari mine and Päiväneva concentrator at the Keliber lithium project in Finland.
This permit has been issued by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Western and Inland Finland (AVI).
The firm submitted two separate permit applications for the Rapasaari mine and Päiväneva concentrator in 2021. However, the applications were subsequently combined into a single permit by the AVI.
The Rapasaari mine operations will involve the extraction of ore and waste rock, disposal of the waste rock, and water discharge from the area.
As part of concentrator operations in Päiväneva, the firm will undertake mineral processing, tailings and process water treatment, water intake from the river Köyhäjoki, and responsible discharge of overflow to the river.
In a press statement, Sibanye-Stillwater said: “The permit decision from the AVI includes a water management permit for the concentrator and the right to start operations despite the existence of any appeals.
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“Since the permit decision from the AVI was published, Keliber has carefully assessed the 144 permit conditions it contains and on Friday 3 February 2023, made a submission to the Vaasa Administrative Court for changes to and/or clarification to six of the permit conditions.”
In the following weeks, Sibanye-Stillwater plans to start construction at the Keliber lithium refinery in Kokkola.
Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said: “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.”