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Johnson Matthey secures raw materials for European cathode plants

Johnson Matthey secures raw materials for European cathode plants
Mining News Pro - British multinational speciality chemicals and sustainable technologies company Johnson Matthey (JM) on Monday announced that it would scale up its battery materials business and said that it had secured long-term supply of critical minerals for its European facilities.

JM, in partnership with Finnish Minerals Group, would build a second commercial production facility for cathode materials, having selected Vaasa, in Finland, as the location of the plant.

The Finland plant would have a nameplate capacity of 30 000 t and, subject to board approval, would be under construction later this year.

JM also announced that it had secured long-term supply for raw materials such as nickel, cobalt and lithium, all of which are forecast to be in deficit over the coming years, owing to an increase in the number of electric vehicles (EVs).

Precious and base metals miner Nornickel’s refineries in Harjavalta, Finland, and the Kola region, Russia, would supply nickel and cobalt for JM’s cathode material production in Poland and Finland, while Chile’s SQM would supply lithium hydroxide from its Salar del Carmen plant, in Antofagasta.

"The partnership with Finnish Minerals Group, and the long-term supply of critical raw materials with Nornickel and SQM, are important milestones on our journey towards developing a sustainable battery materials ecosystem and further demonstrate the progress we are making on the commercialisation of our business,” said JM CEO Robert MacLeod.

Earlier this month, Nornickel announced plans to ramp up nickel and cobalt production at its Harjavalta refinery, in response to the growing European demand for high-quality and responsibly sourced metals for the EV industry.

Harjavalta's product range will be playing an important role in JM’s requirements for its precursor and cathode active materials production.

Nornickel and JM have also signed a memorandum of understanding to explore options to further extend metal supply in the future. The parties further intend to collaborate in other important parts of the battery materials value chain, including new metal dissolution technology, circular economy opportunities, and tokenisation of the supply chain using blockchain technology. Implementation of token-based smart contracts allows combining metal deliveries with complete provenance as well as ESG credentials including carbon footprint to ensure the unprecedented level of responsible sourcing.

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