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VEO partnering in Sibanye-Stillwater’s Keliber lithium refinery project

Sibanye-Stillwater is making history by building the first lithium manufacturer in Europe that will supply lithium hydroxide based on its own ore to the European battery industry. A lithium refinery using innovative technology will be built in Kokkola, Finland. The investment of EUR 656 million will also include the first mine and a concentrator in Kaustinen.

Construction of Sibanye-Stillwater’s Keliber lithium refinery began in Kokkola in March 2023. When production begins, Sibanye-Stillwater intends to produce lithium with a low environmental impact.

Low-voltage switchgear and bus duct systems by VEO

Sibanye-Stillwater has chosen VEO to supply low-voltage switchgear and low-voltage bus duct systems connecting the switchgear to the distribution transformers. The project will be implemented with VEO’s own VEDA, VEBA, and new VEDALIGHT products. The massive delivery of more than 200 cubicles will be divided into several batches; the first will be delivered in May 2024 and the rest in stages by September 2024.

In a such large project, cooperation with different actors is the key.

– Our role as an integrator is emphasised not only in planning the delivery but also in the installation and commissioning of the equipment in the plant. Our strength is to find the optimal solution with the components chosen for the project, says VEOs Sales Manager Juha Tuisku.

–Sibanye-Stillwater is a new customer for us, and we are very pleased that the cooperation with them and others involved in the project has been going well from the start and the project is on schedule, Tuisku continues.

Add-on-sale with E-house know-how

While planning of the switchgear and bus duct system delivery, Sibanye-Stillwater raised their need for an E-House. Since VEO has strong expertise in this product group, it was only natural that VEO was involved in planning the solution. As a result, a Mega E-House with a transformer room was added to VEO’s scope.

– The delivery includes an E-House with building electrification, switchgear, and a bus duct system. The installations will be completed and tested at VEO’s Vaasa factory. As a local company near by Kokkola, there is no need to transport the products over long distances. We will deliver the furnished building to Kokkola at the end of October 2024, and take care of commissioning on the site. Only the groundwork and the necessary permits remain to be taken care of by the customer, Tuisku says.

Towards greener transportation

 The need for lithium has grown rapidly worldwide, due to the electrification of transport. In the process at the Keliber lithium refinery, lithium ore will be refined into a battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate, which is needed in electric vehicle batteries.

– The promotion of sustainable development is highlighted in our strategy. That is why we are extra happy to be part of this project that supports our larger goal and leads the world towards greener transportation, Tuisku sums up.