Umicore's deal to acquire cobalt refining and cathode prescursor activities in Finland— as reported in the latest edition of BEST Battery Briefing— is a key milestone along the path to securing the materials Europe will need to establish a 'home grown' battery industry.
The company raised the equivalent of more than U$1 billion in a shares sale last year, so it has the financial clout that is needed to play a major role as a European battery materials supplier.
Umicore is also stressing the ethical dimensions of its business, pointing out that it has agreements in place to certify that its products are free of artisanally-mined cobalt units and free of any child labour. This aspect of the global battery supply chain will come under increased scrutiny in future. All industry players will need to show that the practices used to bring their battery technology to market are as 'clean and green' as the end products.
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