Nordic Mining enters lithium market

Norway-based mining business Nordic Mining has strengthened its foothold in Finland, with the acquisition of a 68 per cent stake in Finnish lithium mining company Keliber Oy for €4 million (£3 million) in cash and shares.

Keliber has mining concessions, permits and approved plans for the exploration of lithium minerals in Kaustinen, Finland, and plans to establish a process plant for the production of derivative lithium carbonate. With production scheduled to start on the €40-45 million project (£30-34 million) in 2010, Keliber will be Europe’s first producer of the mineral.

The applications of lithium carbonate are widespread. It is used in the glass and ceramic industries, in the production of lubricants, pharmaceutical products as well as in various alloys. Other applications include the production of batteries, mobile phones, laptops, electrical vehicles and portable tools. With growing demand for electrical and hybrid cars, the outlook is believed to be positive.

Increased focus on environmental issues and CO2 emission has already significantly affected the demand for electric and hybrid cars based on lithium ion batteries. The large international car manufacturers have development programs and focus on which indicate increased relative importance of these car types in the coming years. Toyota, as an example, has informed of plans to go 100 per cent hybrid by 2020.

Commenting on the purchase, the company said: “The acquisition of Keliber will give Nordic Mining a strong foothold in Finland, where the mining industry shows significant strong growth.”

Keliber general manager, Olle Siren, added: “The mining activity and establishment of lithium production will be of significant importance for this region, representing new activity and possible further development.”

Waselius & Wist was Finnish counsel to existing client Nordic Mining. The team was led by partner Jan Waselius and senior associate Tanja Meinander.

Handelsbanken Capital Markets was financial adviser to Nordic Mining – its first buy side mandate for the Norwegian mining company – with Aadne Bækken and Marianne Rekve providing advice on deal strategy and valuation.

“Our mining team is excited by the future prospects of Nordic Mining,” comments Bækken. “We have built a strong relationship with management through this transaction and we look forward to working with them in the future.

“The transaction substantiates Nordic Mining’s position in the Nordic countries, as well as its strategy as a mining company focused on high-end minerals.”

Nordic Mining is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, and focuses on the exploration and production of high-end industrial minerals and metals. The company was established in 2006 through the de-merger from Rocksource.

Marc Barber

Raven Connelly

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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