Johnson Matthey to locate second battery-materials plant in Finland – Chemical
By Mary Page Bailey |
Johnson Matthey plc (JM; London) announced significant strategic developments in the commercialisation of eLNO – its portfolio of leading nickel-rich advanced cathode.
- Partnership with Finnish Minerals Group to support development of JM’s previously announced second commercial plant, which will be in Finland, powered solely by renewable energy and incorporating an innovative effluent treatment solution
- Long term sustainable supply of critical raw materials for battery materials production secured, creating an efficient battery electric vehicle supply chain – JM has signed a term sheet for the supply of nickel and cobalt from Nornickel, and an agreement for the supply of lithium hydroxide from SQM
These important developments further strengthen the company’s position in the value chain, setting a new standard of sustainability in the production of high-performance cathode materials that enable greater adoption of long range, pure battery electric vehicles.
In scaling up the battery materials business, JM has begun the front-end engineering design (FEED) for its second commercial plant, which will be located in Vaasa, on the west coast of Finland – a region that aims to create an ecosystem of sustainable technologies. Finland has a favorable battery materials ecosystem, offering reliable access to renewable energy, sustainable raw materials and proximity to major European automotive OEM and cell manufacturers.
As JM invests to support commercialization, the company entered into a partnership with Finnish Minerals Group as it looks to further develop the Finnish batteries ecosystem. Finnish Mineral Group manages the Finnish state’s mining industry shareholdings and aims to create an integrated electric vehicle battery value chain in Finland.
As part of the partnership, Finnish Minerals Group will invest in two key areas. Firstly, to co-develop with JM an integrated solution to treat sodium sulfate, a common manufacturing by-product, providing a sustainable supply chain to conserve natural resources and protect the local environment. Secondly, Finnish Minerals Group will invest in pre-treatment technology of nickel and cobalt sulfates to tailor the materials to the requirements of high nickel cathode materials. The site will solely use locally generated renewable energy and we are working with the City of Vaasa to develop a sustainable heat recovery solution which feeds the local heating system network. These developments are a major step towards sustainable cathode material production, which our customers are increasingly demanding.
The Finland plant will have a nameplate capacity of 30,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr) and, subject to board approval following completion of the design, JM expects to start construction later this year, supporting progress towards securing customer contracts over the coming years.
Securing supply of critical raw materials
JM’s commitment to developing a sustainable ecosystem is critically important to customers. With raw materials such as nickel, cobalt and lithium forecast to be in deficit over the coming years due to increasing numbers of electric vehicles, through strategic partnerships, the company is providing long term security of the supply chain whilst delivering sustainable and responsibly sourced critical raw materials.
JM also has signed a term sheet with Nornickel – a world leading supplier of refined nickel products – for the supply of nickel and cobalt from Nornickel’s metal refineries in Harjavalta, Finland and in the Kola region, Russia. This secures the supply of sustainable, responsibly sourced raw materials for our cathode material production in both Poland and Finland.
In addition to the supply of metals, JM and Nornickel also intend to collaborate on other important topics of the battery materials value chain, including on the digitalization of the supply chain, circular economy opportunities, the application of a newly developed metal dissolution technology and further enhancement of the sustainability of the value chain.
JM has also signed an agreement with fellow Global Battery Alliance member, SQM – a world leading supplier of sustainable lithium products – to supply lithium hydroxide from its Salar del Carmen plant in Antofagasta, Chile.
The developments with Nornickel and SQM, in conjunction with the investment by Finnish Minerals Group, form an important part of the sustainable supply chain for cathode materials plants in both Finland and Poland.