Finnish Minerals plans cathode materials production

Finnish Minerals Group has agreed with a Chinese partner to set up a joint venture to establish a production facility for cathode materials. This will be set up in the southern Finnish port city of Kotka, where Finnish Minerals Group will also be building its battery cell factory.

The Finnish company’s Chinese partner is Beijing Easpring, a manufacturer of cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries founded in 2001 with three production sites in China. Beijing Easpring is to own 70 per cent of the joint venture for the cathode materials factory in Kotka, while Finnish Minerals Group will own the remaining 30 per cent.

The schedule still envisages the establishment of the joint venture in 2023. Now, “more detailed planning” is to start, and permits are to be obtained. According to Finnish Minerals, excavators are already in operation. This began with the preparatory work at the Keltakallio industrial site that started at the end of 2021 and will continue with site levelling and preparation work until the end of summer this year.

The Finnish company says the initial investment is expected to be around 774 million euros. Production capacity should meet the cathode material needs of more than 750,000 electric vehicles per year, with the possibility for later capacity expansion.

“I am very happy that our work with Beijing Easpring, one of the world’s leading producers of cathode active materials for lithium-ion batteries, will continue in the form of a joint venture,” says Matti Hietanen, CEO of Finnish Minerals Group. “This indicates the great potential both parties see in the Kotka production facility to succeed in the European market, both in the short and long term. The plant would also strengthen Finland’s role in the European battery value chain and bring new economic activity into the Kymenlaakso region and beyond,” he noted.

Beijing Easpring also sees this joint venture as being an important part of its own expansion strategy. “As the first Chinese cathode materials company to invest and build a plant in Europe, we will maximise Finland’s location advantages and resource advantages, accelerate production capacity development, energise the European EVB value chain, and contribute to the growth of global green and low-carbon economy,” says Chen Yanbin, General Manager of Beijing Easpring.

In Kotka, an environmental impact assessment for a Finnish Minerals Group cell production facility is to be completed by summer 2024, also to be built with a (unnamed) partner. Two variants with 27 and 40 GWh production capacity are being examined. If Finnish Minerals were to use all the cathode materials from its joint venture with Beijing Easpring for this cell production, 40 GWh and 750,000 cars would result in a battery size of 53.3 kWh per vehicle.

The anodes for the cell factory in Kotka should also be supplied by the Finnish company, as Epsilon Advanced Materials and the Finnish Minerals Group are also looking into the construction of a production plant for almost 50,000 tons of anode material per year in Vaasa, Finland.


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