Sumitomo Metal Mining to boost production of NCA for Li-ion batteries by 38%; targeting Tesla Model 3
As part of its new 3-year business plan, Sumitomo Metal Mining (SMM) will boost production of NCA ((lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide) materials for Li-ion cathodes, expanding from 1,850 tons/month to 2,550 tons/month (+38%). SMM is targeting supplying Tesla with the battery materials for the Model 3 being released next year. (SMM supplies the nickel-based material to Panasonic which builds the cells.)
To meet earlier demand for batteries for the Model S, in 2014, SMM ramped up production of lithium nickel oxide from 300 tons per month to 850 tons; that subsequently expanded in 2015 to the current 1,850 tons per month.
SMM is the only refiner of E-nickel and cobalt in Japan. The company is working to increase the performance and stable supply of cathode materials for rechargeable batteries by drawing on the strengths deriving from its handling of all steps involved, from nickel ore smelting to advanced materials manufacturing.
SMM’s other main battery material products is nickel hydroxide, which is also used in cathodes in nickel metal hydride batteries, which are still used in some of Toyota Motor Corporation’s hybrid vehicles. SMM’s nickel hydroxide has a large share of the market.
SMM also intends to increase its production of nickel by 20% at its Taganito nickel refinery in the Philippines.