Court Mostly Rejects Appeals Challenging Keliber’s Permits for the Syväjärvi Mining Area
The Vaasa Administrative Court has mostly rejected three appeals that were filed in March 2019 challenging Keliber Oy’s environmental and water permits for the Syväjärvi mining area. The permits contain a number of provisions that guide Keliber’s operations, and in addition, the court now obliged Keliber to further intensify water monitoring. The Vaasa Administrative Court published its decision on 16 June 2021.
Keliber’s CEO, Hannu Hautala, comments: “While we expected this outcome, we are pleased with the decision, which will advance Keliber’s plans to be the first European company to produce lithium hydroxide from its own ore. Our products promote electrification in transportation and contribute to global sustainability.”
Environmental Manager Kari Wiikinkoski noted his satisfaction with the Administrative Court's confirmation of Keliber's view, according to which, the operation will not cause significant harm to the environment or surrounding water bodies. Keliber is committed to minimising its environmental impact through the use of best available technology and innovation.
“The environmental and water permits contain a number of provisions that guide our activities and ensure that the environmental impact of the operation is reduced to a minimum. Our first task will be to review the provisions, and the related monitoring plan, together with the supervisory authority, the ELY Centre of South Ostrobothnia,” says Kari Wiikinkoski.
Once the decision is legally valid, Keliber will start preparatory work for mining activities in compliance with the environmental permit. Preparatory work in the mining area includes, among others, activities such as removal of overburden, the construction of roads and sedimentation basins, as well as making a wetland for overland flow. Ore mining is scheduled to begin in 2024.
In February 2019, the Regional State Administrative Agency for Western and Inland Finland (AVI) issued an environmental permit and a water management permit for the Syväjärvi open pit mine, in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act (527/2014) and the Water Act (587/2011), respectively.
Three appeals challenging the decision were filed with the Vaasa Administrative Court, which concentrated on nitrogen emission limits and emission monitoring, fees and compensation to the fisheries, as well as issues related to the planning, construction and sizing of the areas.
Keliber submitted its response to the appeals on 25 July 2019 and 8 October 2020, providing detailed replies to the concerns expressed in the appeals. The company justified the proposed emission limits on the grounds that the emissions would not have a significant and adverse effect on the environment, or the state of the water body concerned. All individual claims were substantiated separately.
Hannu Hautala, CEO, Keliber, tel. +358 (0)40 712 2432
Kari Wiikinkoski, Environmental Manager, Keliber, tel. +358 (0)50 375 3204
Keliber is a European, Finnish special chemical and mining company with the aim of producing sustainable, high-purity, battery-grade lithium hydroxide for the growing lithium battery industry in 2024 by utilizing own ore. www.keliber.fi