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Environmental permit application submitted for the Kotka CAM plant

Easpring Finland New Materials Oy has submitted an environmental permit application for the battery material plant to be established in Kotka, Finland.

Published

16. May 2024

Easpring Finland New Materials Oy, a joint venture recently established by Finnish Minerals Group and Beijing Easpring Material Technology Co., Ltd., has submitted an environmental permit application concerning a cathode active material (CAM) plant to be established in Kotka to the Regional State Administrative Agency. The applicant has requested that the environmental permit application be processed under the priority procedure concerning green transition projects.

At this stage of project development, the plant is estimated to produce on average 60,000 tonnes of nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathode material per year. The plant will be on a 27.8-hectare industrial site in the Keltakallio industrial area, approximately eight kilometres from the centre of Kotka. The local plan and modified local plan for the Keltakallio industrial area came into effect in 2021.

An area covering a total of 80 hectares has been reserved for the project for a possible plant expansion in the future.

Main environmental impacts concern land use and traffic

The largest environmental impacts of the CAM plant consist of impacts on the community structure, land use and traffic in the area.

The plant process will not cause any direct wastewater discharge into water systems. Process effluents will be purified at the plant’s own purification plant, after which they will be channelled to the wastewater treatment plant of Kymen Vesi Oy.

The raw materials and end products will be stored indoors under controlled conditions. In addition, the goal is to utilise the extra heat energy generated by the production plant in the district heating network of the City of Kotka.

The production plant will not be situated in a groundwater area or a flood risk area. However, the project has paid special attention to runoff water during the construction and operational phase of the plant. For example, the area is planned to include runoff water basins.

During the development of the project and the operation of the plant, the focus is on low-carbon solutions, energy efficiency and environmental protection. Modern, intelligent technology, process and equipment solutions are used in the design of the plant and production facilities.

CAM production is part of the battery value chain

The CAM plant is planned to produce the cathode active material needed in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries. CAM is used in cell plants, which require products whose demand is growing as the electrification of transport advances in Europe, for example.

CAM is the key material in determining, among others, the performance, lifespan and safety of batteries. In Finland, CAM production is an entirely new sector with no prior environmental permits. As far as is known, there are no other ongoing CAM projects based on nickel-based lithium-ion battery chemistry in Finland.

“In Finland, we are well-positioned to develop transparent and sustainable raw materials production. The battery materials industry would improve the processing degree of Finnish production and increase the value of exports. Centralising the production in Finland would also shorten the distances in the production chain, thereby decreasing the carbon footprint of the end product,” states Timo Strengell, SVP of battery value chain at Finnish Minerals Group.

According to a previously conducted regional economy assessment, the Kotka CAM plant’s operations would generate approximately EUR 200 million in new GDP and about EUR 90 million in new tax revenue for Finland each year. Its direct employment effect would be approximately 300 person-years, and it would have significant economic and employment effects during the construction phase.

Next, the permit authority will review the permit application and publish a public notice on the issue. This will lead to a hearing phase, during which various authorities will provide statements on the matter and interested parties may voice their opinions on the application.

New joint venture to lead the plant project

From now on, the plant project will be advanced by Easpring Finland New Materials Oy, a joint venture of Finnish Minerals Group and Beijing Easpring Material Technology Co., Ltd. The joint venture’s ownership interest is divided into 70% held by listed company Beijing Easpring Material Technology Co., Ltd. and 30% held by Finnish Minerals Group.

“The Kotka CAM plant is a significant investment project for Easpring, and we consider Finland a good location for high-level industrial operations. Our goal is to accelerate the green transition in Europe by utilising the know-how in battery materials production we have gained through painstaking research and development in almost three decades,” says Chen Yanbin, Chairman of the Board at Beijing Easpring Material Technology Co., Ltd.

“The establishment of this joint venture is an important step towards creating a battery value chain in Finland. The production plant is part of a new, modern industry emerging in Finland that will contribute to the electrification of transport in Europe and curbing climate change. The production plant will also create jobs and a significant economic impact in the Kymenlaakso region and Finland as a whole,” says Matti Hietanen, CEO at Finnish Minerals Group.

 

Modelling image:
Kotka CAM-plant, aerial view

More information for the media:

Timo Strengell, SVP, Battery Value Chain, Finnish Minerals Group
firstname.lastname@mineralsgroup.fi, +358 40 738 4860

Matti Hietanen, CEO, Finnish Minerals Group
firstname.lastname(at)mineralsgroup.fi, +358 40 823 8806

Katri Kauppila, VP, Communications, Finnish Minerals Group
firstname.lastname(at)mineralsgroup.fi, +358 40 569 9200

Terms used in the text:

Cathode active material – a powdery end product used to manufacture cathodes, the most valuable part of the battery cell, in cell plants. It is the key material in determining the performance, lifespan and safety of batteries. Abbreviated as CAM.

Further information about companies:

Finnish Minerals Group
The mission of Finnish Minerals Group is to responsibly maximise the value of Finnish minerals. We manage the State’s mining industry shareholdings and strive to develop the Finnish value chain of lithium-ion batteries. Through our work, we contribute to Europe moving towards electric transport and a more sustainable future.
www.mineralsgroup.fi

Easpring Finland New Materials Oy
Established in March 2024, Easpring Finland New Materials Oy is a joint venture of which Beijing Easpring Material Technology Co., Ltd., listed in ChiNext, owns 70% and Finnish Minerals Group 30%. The purpose of the new company is to advance the CAM plant project in Kotka.

Beijing Easpring Material Technology Co. Ltd.
Beijing Easpring Material Technology Co., Ltd. is a lithium-ion battery cathode material developer, manufacturer and provider, which was established in 2001 and listed on ChiNext in 2010. The company has developed into one of the most influential enterprises in the field of lithium battery positive electrode materials and intelligent equipment, integrating independent innovation, achievement transformation, and industrial operation. The company mainly engages in technical research, production and sales of multiple materials, lithium iron/manganese phosphate, lithium cobalt oxide and other cathode materials, as well as multiple precursor materials. It currently has production facilities in Changzhou and Haimen in Jiangsu province, and Panzhihua in Sichuan province. The company's application markets include automotive power batteries, energy storage batteries, digital consumer electronics and power tools, electric two-wheeled vehicles, and other small power lithium batteries.
www.easpring.com