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Johnson Matthey partners with Finnish Materials Group for second eLNO cathode plant; deals with Nornickel and SQM

Johnson Matthey (JM) is partnering with Finnish Minerals Group to support development of its previously announced second eLNO cathode materials (earlier post) commercial plant, which will be in Finland, powered solely by renewable energy and incorporating an innovative effluent treatment solution.

Johnson Matthey also has signed a term sheet for the supply of nickel and cobalt from Russia-based Nornickel, and an agreement for the supply of lithium hydroxide from SQM—both agreements supporting a long-term sustainable supply of critical raw materials for battery materials production.

JM has begun the front-end engineering design for its second commercial plant, which will be located in Vaasa, on the west coast of Finland—a region that aims to create an ecosystem of sustainable technologies. Finland has a favorable battery materials ecosystem, offering reliable access to renewable energy, sustainable raw materials and proximity to major European automotive OEM and cell manufacturers.

Finnish Mineral Group manages the Finnish state’s mining industry shareholdings and aims to create an integrated electric vehicle battery value chain in Finland.

As part of the partnership, Finnish Minerals Group will invest in two key areas:

  • To co-develop with JM an integrated solution to treat sodium sulfate, a common manufacturing by-product, providing a sustainable supply chain to conserve natural resources and protect the local environment.

  • To invest in pre-treatment technology of nickel and cobalt sulfates to tailor the materials to the requirements of high-nickel cathode materials.

The site will solely use locally generated renewable energy and will work with the City of Vaasa to develop a sustainable heat recovery solution which feeds the local heating system network. These developments are a major step towards sustainable cathode material production.

The Finland plant will have a nameplate capacity of 30kT. Subject to board approval following completion of the design, JM expects to start construction later this year.

Efficient, sustainable supply of nickel and cobalt with Nornickel. The term sheet with Nornickel is for the supply of nickel and cobalt from Nornickel’s metal refineries in Harjavalta, Finland and in the Kola region, Russia. This secures the supply of sustainable, responsibly sourced raw materials for cathode material production in both Poland and Finland.

In addition to the supply of metals, JM and Nornickel also intend to collaborate on other important topics of the battery materials value chain, including on the digitalization of the supply chain, circular economy opportunities, the application of a newly developed metal dissolution technology and further enhancement of the sustainability of the value chain.

Securing lithium supply with SQM. The agreement with SQM is to supply lithium hydroxide from its Salar del Carmen plant in Antofagasta, Chile.

The developments with Nornickel and SQM, in conjunction with the investment by Finnish Minerals Group, form an important part of the sustainable supply chain for JM cathode materials plants in both Finland and Poland.


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