Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining is planning to invest $424m (JPY47bn) to boost cathode materials production capacity in Japan.

The capacity increase is expected to help meet the growing demand for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries used in electric vehicles (EV), as the world shifts focus towards a low-carbon future.

Of the total investment, $361.2m (JPY40bn) will be used to establish a plant for nickel-based cathode materials in the Besshi area Niihama City, Ehime Prefecture.

The new facility will be located adjacent to the firm’s existing cathode material plant, the Isoura Plant.

The remainder of the investment will be used by Japan’s biggest nickel smelter to increase production capacity at the Harima Refinery located in Harima-cho, Kako-gun, Hyogo Prefecture.

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By GlobalData

Sumitomo said it plans to complete the work at the two sites in 2025.

In a press statement, Sumitomo said: “Through the expansion of our supply of high-performance battery materials that contribute to tackling the decarbonisation issues the world is facing, we are engaging in initiatives towards becoming a company that actively undertakes climate change countermeasures by reducing emissions and stably supplying products to contribute to a low-carbon society and a future with zero greenhouse gases (GHGs).”

By 2027, Sumitomo Metal aims to boost its cathode materials production capacity to 10,000t per month (t/m).

The company has set a goal to boost its cathode materials production capacity from the current 5,000t/m to 7,000t/m in 2025, Reuters reported citing a company spokesman.