German chemical company BASF is to build a battery materials production plant— its first serving the European automotive market— in Harjavalta, Finland.
The plant will be built adjacent to a nickel and cobalt refinery owned by Russian mining firm Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel), as part of BASF’s €400 million (US$456.2m) multi-step investment plan to supply European battery cell manufacturers with regionally-manufactured cathode materials.
BASF said the move reinforced its support of the European Commission’s goal to create, “almost from scratch, competitive and sustainable battery cell manufacturing in Europe”.
This announcement marks the continuation of collaboration between the two companies. In June 2017, Nornickel signed an agreement to provide BASF with raw materials from their Harjavalta refinery, and with nickel and cobalt feedstock from their Russian mines.
Jeffrey Lou, senior vice-president of Barrett Materials at BASF, said: “With the investment in Harjavalta, BASF will be present in all major regions with local production and increased customer proximity supporting the rapidly growing EV market. The co-location of BASF’s new plant and Nornickel’s metal refinery will enable unparalleled access to a local nickel and cobalt supply.”
Sergey Batekhin, a senior vice-president at Nornickel, said: “We believe that electric vehicles have significant potential to transform the global nickel industry, and Nornickel— as the world’s leading supplier of refined nickel products— is uniquely positioned to support this transformation.”