Johnson Matthey (JM), has unveiled what it says are “significant strategic developments” in the commercialisation of eLNO – its portfolio of nickel rich advanced cathode materials.

  • Partnership with Finnish Minerals Group to support development of the previously-announced second commercial plant, which will be in Finland, powered solely by renewable energy and incorporating an effluent treatment solution
  • Long term sustainable supply of critical raw materials for battery materials production secured, creating an efficient battery electric vehicle supply chain – JM has signed a term sheet for the supply of nickel and cobalt from Nornickel and an agreement for the supply of lithium hydroxide from SQM

In scaling up JM’s battery materials business, it has started front-end engineering design for its second commercial plant which will be in Vaasa, on the west coast of Finland.

JM has entered into a partnership with Finnish Minerals Group as it looks to further develop the Finnish batteries ecosystem. Finnish Mineral Group manages the Finnish State’s mining industry shareholdings and aims to create an integrated electric vehicle battery value chain in the country.

As part of the partnership, Finnish Minerals Group will invest in two key areas. Firstly, to co-develop with JM an integrated solution to treat sodium sulphate, a common manufacturing by-product, providing a sustainable supply chain to conserve natural resources and protect the local environment. Secondly, Finnish Minerals Group will invest in pre-treatment technology of nickel and cobalt sulphates to tailor the materials to the requirements of high nickel cathode materials.

The site will solely use locally generated renewable energy and JM is working with the City of Vaasa to develop a sustainable heat recovery solution, which feeds the local heating system network.

The Finland plant will have a nameplate capacity of 30kT and, subject to board approval following completion of the design, JM expects to start construction later this year.

JM has also signed a term sheet with Nornickel – a supplier of refined nickel products – for delivery of nickel and cobalt from Nornickel’s metal refineries in Harjavalta, Finland and in the Kola region, Russia. This secures the supply of sustainable, responsibly-sourced raw materials for cathode material production in both Poland and Finland.

In addition to the supply of metals, JM and Nornickel also intend to collaborate on other topics of the battery materials value chain, including the digitalisation of the supply chain, circular economy opportunities, the application of a newly developed metal dissolution technology and further enhancement of the sustainability of the value chain.

JM also announced it has signed an agreement with fellow Global Battery Alliance member, SQM, a supplier of sustainable lithium products, to supply lithium hydroxide from its Salar del Carmen plant in Antofagasta, Chile.

“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 chief executive, Robert MacLeod.

“With sustainability at the heart our strategy and an increasingly important requirement for our customers and consumers, we are delighted to be working with our partners to deliver sustainable cathode materials to the market.”