Swiss battery metals investor Blackstone Resources is launching a research centre in Germany— ahead of plans to set up “a substantial battery-production project” in the country.
The company is investing €200 million to establish Blackstone Research in the city of Erfurt, with the goal of building “the next generation of electric-vehicle batteries, close to where German auto manufacturers are based”, in the east-central state of Thüringen.
Blackstone said it will initially put up the investment itself, but hopes to “garner support from subsidies” from European Union R&D funds and from regional and federal funding in Germany.
The company aims to have an initial capacity of 100 million battery cells per annum during the project's first phase. “Further phases will increase the production substantially.”
Blackstone said it is still looking for the “optimal site” for manufacturing facilities. One location being considered is in Eisenach, 50 kilometres to the west of Erfurt. “This would place the facility in close proximity to car manufacturer Opel and other Chinese-owned battery manufacturers,” Blackstone said. Another possible site could be Braunschweig in Lower Saxony.
Blackstone reported last month it expected a consolidated loss for the fiscal year-end 2018 in the range of CHF12-14 million (US$12-14m). Unrealised losses from the Blackstone’s strategic investment interests, especially in cobalt, were the most significant contributors to the company’s loss. However, the company believes “the long-term investment thesis in battery metals and the fundamentals that support this long-term structural trend, remain firmly intact”.