Finnish Minerals Group and China-based technology company CNGR Advanced Material have completed the definitive feasibility study (DFS) and decided to continue their collaboration for establishing a pCAM (precursor cathode active material—the preliminary stage of the cathode active material used in lithium-ion batteries) plant in Hamina, Finland. The plant project will be managed by the partners’ joint venture company, of which CNGR Advanced Material will own 60% and Finnish Minerals Group 40%.
The plant capacity has been set at 20,000 tonnes a year for the initial phase. The goal is to launch production in 2024 and invest in increasing the capacity along with the production over the following years. The initial investment will be €200–300 million.
We have worked closely together with CNGR Advanced Material since 2019, and it is great to see that we can now proceed to the next phase of our work. This pCAM plant is an essential part of building a battery value chain in Europe, and it gives us an excellent opportunity to enhance the degree of processing of Finnish minerals. At the same time, the project creates a new form of economic activity in the Kymenlaakso region and Finland in general.
It has been our company’s strategic goal to expand our operations to Europe, and with this project, we are able to achieve that. We will bring our most advanced technology and most automated production line to Finland. With the help of our Finnish partner, we will together have the lowest carbon footprint pCAM plant in the world.
Preliminary work in preparation for earth moving and project infrastructure has already started near the deep-water port at the industrial plot reserved for the pCAM plant in Hamina. The new joint venture will also draft an environmental permit application, which is intended to be submitted during 2022. The EIA report for the production of battery materials and the coordinating authority’s reasoned conclusion on the report will be utilized to prepare the application.
Europe does not have industrial scale production of precursor cathode active material yet, although investments in lithium-ion battery cell production have so far been reported for almost 800 gigawatt hours per year by 2030. Precursor cathode active material is nevertheless essential in the production of cathode active materials, and further in the production of battery cells that come next in the value chain. Thousands of working hours have already been spent on this project by many companies, and we can say that our work bolsters the emergence of a new form of industry in Europe.
During the initial construction phase, the investment in the plant will create a demand for labor also in other sectors than construction. After production has commenced, the plant will directly employ about 150 people, in addition to which various external service providers will be needed during operation.