A Volkswagen electric car is parked in front of a charging station at the German automotive maker’s component plant in Salzgitter, Germany. Finnish Minerals Group on Wednesday reported that it has signed a letter of intent with an undisclosed industrial partner for building a battery cell plant in Kotka Finland. The annual output of the plant could suffice to produce up to 800,000 electric vehicle batteries, according to YLE. (John Macdougall – AFP / Lehtikuva)


FINNISH MINERALS GROUP on Wednesday revealed it has signed a letter of intent for building a battery cell production plant in Kotka, Southern Finland.

The plant is estimated to cost 2.5–4.0 billion euros depending on its production capacity, making it the second largest industrial investment in the history of Finland, after the third reactor unit of Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant, according to Helsingin Sanomat.

“We’re talking about currently the largest project project in the battery sector in Finland,” Matti Hietanen, the CEO of Finnish Minerals Group, statetd to YLE on Wednesday.

It is set to primarily produce battery cells for electric vehicles, supporting the rapid proliferation of electric vehicles and consequent growth of the associated battery value chain in Europe, said Vesa Koivisto, the director of battery value chain at Finnish Minerals Group.

“Our goal is to meet the increasing demand with battery materials and cells produced responsibly in Finland,” he summed up in the press release.

Finnish Minerals Group has yet to disclose the name of its project partner, but Hietanen described it as a well-known international player in the sector.

“Our industrial partner hasn’t yet made its final country decision, to bring the project to Finland. But we’re well positioned. We can disclose the partner’s name when things are a bit further,” he said to the public broadcasting service, adding that the only site under consideration in Finland is Kotka.

The plant is to be built on a roughly 140-hectare plot, next to a planned cathode active materials plant, on an industrial site known as Keltakallio. Cursor, the business development company for Hamina and Kotka, has estimated that if completed the battery material plant, cell plant and battery plant could provide employment to a few thousand people, in addition to creating jobs elsewhere in the value chain.

“Depending on the capacity option, we’re talking about 1,500–2,500 jobs directly at the cell plant,” Hietanen confirmed to YLE.

The realisation of the projects, though, is contingent on environmental impact assessments, which are to be completed by mid-2024. Finnish Minerals Group reported that the assessments will be carried out for two annual capacity options, 27 gigawatt-hours and 40 gigawatt hours – enough to produce batteries for 500,000–800,000 electric vehicles.

“We trust our development partners that the natural and environmental values, as well as other factors, are assessed thoroughly,” Esa Sirviö, the mayor of Kotka, stated in a press release from Cursor.

Pertti Kauranen, a professor of energy storage systems at LUT University in Lappeenranta, told YLE on Wednesday that a cell production plant has been the lone missing piece of the battery value chain in Finland.

“This sounds good indeed,” he stated. “The Finnish battery value chain is complete except for the fact that a cell plant has been missing. We mine battery minerals, produce battery chemicals and companies like Valmet Automotive make battery cells into battery modules. The only thing that’s been missing is a cell plant, so welcome.”

The plant is where the parts of the battery cell – cathode, anode, electrolyte and separator – are assembled. The cells are then combined into modules and packs to create battery systems, which can be used not only in electric vehicles but also in energy storage solutions and electronic devices.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT