Germany and Russia have come together to provide raw materials for the production of lithium ion batteries in Europe.
International chemicals company, BASF, and mining giant, Nornickel, announced that the two have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to that effect, earlier this week.
The agreement starts the process of negotiations between BASF and Nornickel regarding the supply of lithium-ion batteries to Europe. The partnership will also include the provision of up to €400 million of investment from BASF. This sum will be put towards building production plants in Europe, although it does not mention specifics on where these will be situated. According to the BASF’s press release, these plants will be ‘industry-leading’ in the production of cathode materials.
The company already has impressive qualifications in the provision of cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries. It is experienced in developing both NCM (Nickel Cobalt Manganese) and LFP (Lithium iron Phosphate) technology, towards lithium-ion battery production. The former is particularly suited for use in automotive drivetrains on account of its efficiency and safety. The latter is typically used in cathode coating processes.
BASF is one of only two suppliers entrusted with the licence to supply the US Department of Energy’s Argonne Laboratory, and has various enterprises in both Japan and Ohio. However, the press release suggests that BASF has yet to really make a mark in the European battery market, and is hopeful that this new partnership will allow it to “participate in growth opportunities”.
Similarly, The Nornickel Group, a Moscow-based mining and smelting company, touts itself as the “world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium and one of the world’s leading producers of platinum and copper.” The agreement will see Nornickel’s refinery in Finland supply the raw materials to BASF’s newly-built processing plants. It will also offer a secure, market-priced line to nickel and cobalt feedstock from its Russian mines.
President of BASF’s Catalysts division, Kenneth Lane, said that BAFS’s cooperation with Nornickel and the construction of production plants “will result in a robust supply chain” for electric vehicle battery cell producers in Europe. Nornickel’s Head of Sales, Sergey Batekhin, regards the partnership as an “an opportunity to increase…exposure to the high-potential and fast-growing rechargeable battery materials market.”
ElecTrans recently reported on the huge increase in demand for copper because of EVs. Evidently, this collaboration is coming at an excellent time, in order for the two companies to make the most of the market’s needs, while also soothing potential supply concerns.