UK chemicals giant Johnson Matthey to open second battery components plant

Chemicals and technology giant Johnson Matthey has signed a deal with state Finnish Minerals Group and russian giant Nornickel which will be the start for the construction of the company’s second battery components factory.

The FTSE 100 firm said that plant to be powered by renewable energy, using responsibly sourced nickel, cobalt and lithium raw materials, and employing an innovative effluent treatment solution.

Earlier in April Nornickel announced plans to ramp up sustainable nickel and cobalt production at its refinery in Finland — NN Harjavalta — in response to the growing European demand for high quality and responsibly sourced metals for the EV industry. NN Harjavalta’s product range will be playing an important role in satisfying Johnson Matthey’s requirements for its precursor and cathode active materials production in Finland as well as for its existing factory in Poland.

Johnson Matthey announced the development in Finland of its second commercial plant with a nameplate capacity of 30 kt of ultra-high energy density cathode materials required by EV producers.

Nornickel and Johnson Matthey have also signed a memorandum of understanding to explore options to further extend metal supply in the future. The parties also intend to collaborate in other important parts of the battery materials value chain, including new metal dissolution technology, circular economy opportunities, and tokenization of the supply chain using blockchain technology. Implementation of token-based smart contracts allows combining metal deliveries with complete provenance as well as ESG credentials including carbon footprint to ensure the unprecedented level of responsible sourcing.

The deal will allow the Russian and British company to define joint sustainable development initiatives.

“We are delighted for this opportunity to develop our business together with Johnson Matthey — a new important player in the Finnish battery materials ecosystem — and help the company expand on the European EV market. Our memorandum should enable us to identify mutually beneficial sustainability initiatives that support the ambition of achieving the most sustainable battery materials value chain in Europe,” commented Vladimir Potanin, President of Norilsk Nickel.

Johnson Matthey has also signed a deal with 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.

In February, the Finnish Minerals Group announced an active stage of negotiations with the Chinese technology company CNGR Advanced Material for the construction of a battery components and precursor plant in Hamina, Finland.

Both projects are in line with the Finnish government’s goals to increase the recycling and production of battery materials in Finland as the demand for electric vehicles grows rapidly around the world.

Finnish budget for 2021 includes additional funding of EUR 300 million for Finnish Minerals Group to promote investments for the production of precursor and cathode active materials used in lithium-ion batteries in Finland.