Keliber Upgraded the Process and Supplemented the EIA Report of the Kokkola Plant
The process of Keliber’s lithium chemical plant in Kokkola has been developed since the assessment report of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedure was completed on 6 March 2020. The company has now supplemented the EIA report to reflect the current project plan. The process changes apply to the treatment of effluent and analcime sand, which is a by-product created in the process. A supplemented EIA report was submitted to the ELY Centre of Southern Ostrobothnia on 31 March 2021. ELY will issue a supplemented reasoned conclusion on the report.
According to the original plan, effluent from the lithium chemical plant process was to be disposed of by evaporation, which is an energy-intensive method. Thanks to an advanced technology, effluent can be treated more efficiently by electrochemical water treatment (EWT) followed by dissolved air flotation (DAF). The treated water will be discharged from the plant along a transfer pipeline to the Kokkola municipal wastewater treatment plant, Hopeakivenlahti, where the chemical plant's water will account for approximately 4% of all incoming wastewater.
At the wastewater treatment plant, the chemical plant's effluent can be treated in accordance with the permit conditions of the wastewater treatment plant. The effluent from the chemical plant contains small amounts of lithium, but when mixed with other water, the lithium content of the effluent (approximately 9 mg/l) will be below the limit value set for wastewater treatment plants (22.94 mg/l). Water from the treatment plant is discharged into the sea. When the discharged water mixes with seawater at the end of the discharge pipe, the lithium concentration is estimated to be only about 0.006 mg/l, which is a small fraction of the long-term exposure limit values for organisms.
After being treated at the chemical plant, the effluent contains some phosphorus, of which about 95% can be removed at the wastewater treatment plant. The additional load to the sea, which is caused by the effluent of the chemical plant, is not estimated to have an impact on the eutrophication of the sea in front of Kokkola. Thus, it is not expected to affect the ecological status of the water, nor the outcome of the targets set for managing water resources and marine environments.
Analcime sand is a by-product of the chemical plant's process. It will be used in the structures of the Port of Kokkola. According to the updated plan, the analcime sand will be slurried at the chemical plant with seawater. The resulting sludge will be transferred along a transfer pipeline to the Port of Kokkola, where it will be used for backfilling structures of the harbour extension. In the original plan, the sludge was to be transported to the port by truck, so the change will significantly reduce the amount of traffic.
The supplemented EIA report considers only the impact assessments that are affected by the project changes, meaning impacts on surface and groundwater as well as on traffic, noise, and air quality. In the original EIA report, the impacts had been assessed as small, and they will be further reduced by the process changes.
Respectively, Keliber has also supplemented the environmental permit application for the Kokkola chemical plant, which was submitted to the Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) of Western and Inland Finland on 4 December 2020.
The report will be presented to the public on 27 April 2021, in a webinar in Finnish, starting at 5 pm (EET).
Kari Wiikinkoski, Environmental Manager, phone +358 (0)50 3753 204
Hannu Hautala, CEO, phone +358 (0)40 712 2432
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