The world’s largest producer of refined nickel Russian Nornickel builds up production capacity in the Finnish Harjavalta. The plan to increase capacity is driven by growing European market demand for battery raw materials responsibly produced with one of the lowest carbon footprint in the industry.
This investment is part of the Norilsk Nickel Group’s strategy to support sustainable development worldwide.
“The plant in Harjavalta may expand output to produce battery material for about 1 million electric vehicles per year,” Anton Berlin, Nornickel’s head of sales, told reporters on Tuesday. The company is planning to increase capacity by more than 50%.
Battery demand is forecast to be so strong that production barely will keep pace by decade’s end, according to UBS Group AG analysts. European companies are rushing to invest in the battery industry to help meet a target to get at least 30 million zero-emission cars on roads by 2030.
Nornickel Harjavalta uses mainly renewable energy in its production and is a modern expert in the field of hydrometallurgical production of high purity nickel, which allows efficient use of raw materials. The Harjavalta refinery offers the widest range of nickel products in Europe. In Harjavalta, for example nickel chemicals and metals and cobalt sulfate.
Joni Hautojärvi, Managing Director at Nornickel Harjavalta also commented: “This expansion will further strengthen Harjavalta refinery’s position as one of the most sustainable producers of nickel and cobalt metals to the EV battery industry. Our unique product portfolio combined with EV battery metals recycling development enables NN Harjavalta to be the leading European supplier of the critical metals to the growing battery sector in Europe”.
Nickel output at Harjavalta during the first phase of the expansion will increase from the current 65 ktpa to 75 ktpa in 2023 and during the second phase to over 100 ktpa by early 2026.
One of the co-authors of the Finnish national national strategy for the development of batteries in the field of battery production, associate professor of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Aalto University, Mari Lundström, welcomed the plans of the Russian Norilsk Nickel to increase capacity in Finland.
“There is a huge need in the industry today for metals for electric batteries, which offers great business opportunities. Including for representatives of the community, which has been mining it for many years. I have not yet seen the news about the increase in production by Norilsk Nickel, but I can say that this is a positive decision both for the Russian company and for Finland and the EU,” said Mari Lundström.
She noted that Finland possesses significant reserves of minerals required for battery production, combined with extensive experience and industrial investment opportunities.
The Finnish battery strategy seek to strengthen the battery sector ecosystem and boost sustainable, low-carbon economic growth in country.