11/04/2022

Survey: Residents of Kymenlaakso region welcome battery material plants

A clear majority of the residents of Kymenlaakso region are in favour of the establishment of battery material plants in Hamina and Kotka, shows a recent survey.

The preparations for establishing battery material plants in Hamina and Kotka are underway with Finnish Minerals Group and its partners. When implemented, the plants would significantly enhance economic well-being in the Kymenlaakso region and Finland by improving employment and increasing the value addition of Finnish mineral raw materials. The plants would also promote the electrification of transport by increasing the supply of materials needed for making batteries.

The pCAM plant in Hamina would be producing precursor material that is a preliminary stage of cathode active material. The key materials for precursor include nickel and cobalt sulphates, which are already being produced by Terrafame in Sotkamo. The plant in Kotka would further process precursor material into cathode active material used by cell plants to manufacture the most valuable part of a battery cell – the cathode.

Hamina’s plant project is well known, Kotka’s project not as much

As the preparations progress, Finnish Minerals Group wanted to hear Kymenlaakso residents’ thoughts on the plants. According to a survey commissioned by the company, 95% of the residents in the region are of the opinion that Europe should increase its self-sufficiency in batteries and battery material production. Of the respondents, as many as 94% found that the placement of the battery material plants in Kotka and Hamina would promote economic growth and employment in the region.

More than nine out of ten respondents (93%) totally or somewhat agreed that it is good that battery materials are produced in Finland. Three out of four respondents knew that a battery material plant is planned to be established in Hamina, while just slightly more than half of the respondents were aware that a battery material plant is also being planned in Kotka. The plant in Kotka is different from the plant in Hamina even though both are battery material plants.

“The survey confirmed our perception of Kymenlaakso residents having a positive view on the projects. It did, however, come as a little surprise to us that there was such a clear difference in how well the residents knew the projects in these two cities. It should be noted that the plan is indeed to establish two modern battery value chain plants in the Kymenlaakso region. The projects will provide a great boost to the regional economy and to well-being in both cities,” says Vesa Koivisto, SVP, Battery Value Chain at Finnish Minerals Group.

Batteries and battery materials are needed in climate change mitigation

A sustainable battery value chain based on the circular economy is one of the key means of cutting down the greenhouse gas emissions from transport in the coming years. Battery production will enable the car industry’s transition from combustion engines to electric cars, which helps to reduce emissions from transport. Based on the survey results, people are not very well aware about the importance of battery production to the electrification of transport and the mitigation of climate change.

Based on the survey, residents were keen to hear more about the environmental impact of production activities, ownership of the battery material plants, job opportunities and potential effects on nearby residential areas.

“The battery material plants will be constructed using the best available technology. The operators will be two Finnish limited liability companies, which will also hire the employees and will be responsible for the operation of the plants. Before starting operations, environmental permits will need to be obtained for the plants, and the operators will have to carefully comply with the limits set in the permits,” says Koivisto.

The survey was carried out in March 2022 as telephone interviews of Kymenlaakso residents aged from 18 to 79 years. Implemented by Taloustutkimus Oy, a total of 303 people responded to the survey, and 51% of them were women and 49 percent were men.