The 1950's - Suomen Mineraali Oy
The first traces of lithium in Central Ostrobothnia were found when boulders containing beryl were discovered in Kaustinen in 1956, and a lithium phosphate mineral called triphylite was isolated from the boulders. In the late summer of 1959, Arvo Puumala, an ore prospector from Kaustinen, found boulders in the Nikula area of Kaustinen and presented them to Ilmari Haapala, a summer intern at Suomen Mineraali Oy (at present, Haapala is retired from the professorship of geology at the University of Helsinki). The boulders were rich in mineral unfamiliar to both of them. The mineral turned out to be spodumene, a rare lithium mineral which in Finland previously had been found before only in two places, Eräjärvi and Somero. Arvo Puumala who found the spodumene in Kaustinen was later on rewarded with the state’s special awards, in addition to an award by Suomen Mineraali Oy.
The 1960's - Paraisten Kalkkivuori Oy
As a consequence of the spodumene discovery, Suomen Mineraali Oy began vast boulder investigations in Kaustinen and the surrounding municipalities under the leadership of geologist Klaus Säynäjärvi. Suomen Mineraali Oy was then acquired by Paraisten Kalkkivuori Oy, and the investigations were continued, resulting in the discovery of lithium deposits in the areas of Emmes and Jänislampi in Alaveteli as well as in the area of Länttä in Ullava. In the 1960’s, the deposits in Länttä and Emmes were drilled, ready for the potential mining operation to begin in the future. Spodumene veins were also discovered in the area of Vintturi in Kaustinen and the area of Ruohojärvi in Kälviä, and these areas have been more closely investigated.
Later on, some other spodumene veins have also been discovered. Within the area of six municipalities there are dozens of boulder fields containing spodumene, which all indicate spodumene deposits with unknown origins.
During the years 1970-1992 the demand for lithium did not evolve favourably
Paraisten Kalkkivuori Oy, which later on changed its name to Partek Oy, carried out vast investigations in order to begin the utilization of these lithium deposits during 1961–1982. The investigations covered drilling in Länttä and Emmes and ore dressing investigations for the spodumene ore itself as well as for its by-products, such as quartz, feldspar and mica concentrates. The upgrading of spodumene concentrate to lithium carbonate, which is the most common one of commercial lithium chemicals, was also investigated as far as to the investment decision. However, the mining and beneficiation of lithium and the production of lithium carbonate was not launched at that time, due to limited global market and high market risks.
Partek Oy held claims in Länttä and Emmes during 1967–1972 and mining concessions during 1972–1992. In Jänislampi, the company held a claim during 1967–1972 and a mining concession during 1972–1987. However, the company let the concessions expire, because the lithium market did not evolve favourably.
The Keliber project is born
The Keliber project working group was set up in the spring of 1999, and it made reservations for claims for five separate lithium deposits. The Keliber working group also drew up a project plan and began the search for funding for a preliminary survey project in autumn 1999.
The funding for the preliminary survey project was received through EU funds from the Rural Department of the T&E Centre for Ostrobothnia, directed to the project by the sub region of Kaustinen. The preliminary survey project was launched at the beginning of 2000, and it continued until September 2001. The results were so encouraging that the research and development company Keliber Resources Ltd Oy was established.
In the years 2000 - 2009 drilling and preparing for mining and lithium demand is increasing
Keliber Resources Ltd Oy drilled the lithium deposit in the area of Länttä in Ullava during 2004–2005, preparing it for mining, and developed a new production process for lithium carbonate during 2001–2006. The new production process is specifically tailored to the lithium deposits in Central Ostrobothnia.
Keliber Resources Ltd Oy was granted environmental permits for the mining in the Länttä area in Ullava as well as for the lithium production in the area of Kalavesi in Kaustinen. In addition, the company acquired a mining certificate (a license to mine) and all building permits for the Länttä deposit. Lassila & Tikanoja Oyj has acquired both environmental permits and building permits for the biogas production plant. All permits and licenses are legally valid.
In 2006 Keliber Resources Ltd Oy was transformed into a mining company and the name was changed into Keliber Oy.