A consortium of raw material suppliers for the battery industry has joined a cooperation network to secure investments for the development of a battery cluster in Finland.
The network was established last year by the Finnish city of Vaasa and has been allocated a large area for the construction of battery factories.
In addition to the cities of Vaasa and Kokkola, the cooperation network comprises cobalt refinery and battery chemicals producer Freeport Cobalt, nickel metals and nickel chemicals producer Nornickel, and a producer of nickel, zinc, cobalt and copper known as the Terrafame Group.
The network also includes Keliber, which is on course to commence lithium production in Kaustinen and Kokkola, as well as BeoWulf Mining, which owns a graphite deposit in Heinävesi.
All five companies participating in the project have assets in Finland.
The development is expected to support increasing global efforts to transition to eco-friendly, battery-operated and hybrid electric vehicles in order to address climate change concerns.
Vaasa mayor Tomas Häyry said: “Demand for batteries will continue to grow, especially around applications like local energy storage solutions and traffic.
“Finland now has a unique opportunity to be involved in the growth and active development of this new field of industry.”
Norilsk Nickel Harjavalta produced almost 60,000t of nickel last year, which is used in electric car batteries, while Terrafame produced approximately 21,000t of nickel and roughly 47,000t of zinc.
Terrafame is currently preparing an investment decision regarding the further refinement of its nickel-cobalt product for use in battery chemicals in an effort to commence operations at the new plant in 2020.
Terrafame Group CEO Matti Hietanen said: “Global electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid penetration would need to reach 12% in order to comply with international climate targets by 2025.
“This would mean that the proportion of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids would be ten times higher than currently.
“At the same time, the demand for raw materials for electric cars is expected to grow strongly.”
In a separate development, BeoWulf’s subsidiary Fennoscandian Resources has also secured €161,000 in funding from Business Finland for a new research project, titled ‘Green Minerals – Graphite, Exploration to Products’.
Fennoscandian is currently part of a consortium project that intends to develop new exploration methods for natural flake graphite, as well as optimise beneficiation methods and the purification process for natural flake graphite.
The consortium project is known as ‘Green Minerals – Graphite and Lithium, Exploration to Products’.