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BASF & Nornickel to cooperate on raw materials for Li-ion batteries in Europe; BASF to invest €400M in cathode materials plants

BASF and Russia-based PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) signed a Memorandum of Understanding and entered exclusive negotiations to cooperate on the supply of raw materials for future battery materials production for lithium-ion batteries in Europe. The Nornickel Group is the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium and one of the world’s leading producers of platinum and copper. The Group also produces cobalt, rhodium, silver, gold, iridium, ruthenium, selenium, tellurium and sulfur.

BASF intends to invest up to €400 million in a first step to build industry-leading production plants for cathode materials in Europe. Through the prospective agreement, BASF would receive the raw materials from the Nornickel metal refinery in Harjavalta, Finland. Nornickel would also provide a secure supply of nickel and cobalt feedstock from its Russian mines at market prices.

Along with its leading raw materials position, Nornickel also brings significant metals refining and trading experience to the cooperation.

BASF is an established cathode materials provider in the Asian and US markets through BASF TODA Battery Materials LLC in Japan and BASF’s production facility in Elyria, Ohio. A cooperation with Nornickel will provide the foundation to further expand BASF’s access to the developing cathode materials market in Europe and participate in growth opportunities in this region.

The strategic cooperation will leverage both companies’ market positions and expertise to provide an optimized and secure supply chain for electric vehicle battery cell producers in Europe.

The envisioned cooperation with Nornickel and the construction of new BASF battery materials production plants in Europe, will result in a robust supply chain and enable BASF to expand its production of battery materials on a global scale. It also fits well with both companies’ growth strategies of expanding into sustainable technologies.

—Kenneth Lane, President of BASF’s Catalysts division

For Nornickel this project is an opportunity to increase our exposure to the high-potential and fast-growing rechargeable battery materials market. We are interested in supporting this target market with our nickel and cobalt products. BASF is a long-standing and trusted partner of Nornickel and a leader in chemistry-based solutions for the automotive industry. An expanded cooperation with BASF will enable us to strengthen our position as a leading nickel producer globally and offer customers the best product in the most suitable form.

—Sergey Batekhin, Head of Sales, Commerce and Logistics at Nornickel

Nornickel said that its site in Harjavalta is uniquely suited to the vertically integrated production of battery precursor cathode materials for the European market.

Several battery cell producers have announced or have already started the construction of manufacturing plants for electric vehicle powertrain system batteries in Europe and the local production of precursor materials is an important step in fostering the development of this industry in Europe. This development of a regional supply chain for battery materials in Europe will reduce supply chain risks for battery cell producers and automakers.


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