Together with Outotec as the main technical partner, Keliber has developed a production process that is specifically tailored to the lithium deposits in Central Ostrobothnia. The process represents Best Available Techniques (BAT) technically, economically and ecologically. The raw materials do not contain heavy metals or sulphide minerals that cause acidification, and no chemicals hazardous to the environment are used in the production. The process developed represents the shortest and the most efficient way from raw material to a commercial product available at the moment.
The production generates several by-products, so that of all aggregate that is taken in for the process, approximately 85–95% can be utilized. The emissions to the environment consist of water vapour into the air and waste heat to the cooling water. The cooling water is cleaner when discharged than it is when it comes to the plant because the water has to be purified before it enters the heat exchangers. The concentration plant has both internal and external recycling of the process water, and the dissolution plant uses crystallization liquid, so there is no discharge of waste water into water bodies.
The main phases of the production process are mining, crushing, grinding, beneficiation, change of crystal structure and dissolving. The production costs can be significantly reduced by using biogas; biomethane and carbon dioxide are run through the process several times. The production process of lithium is presented in the flow chart below: