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Battery materials plants planned in both Kotka and Hamina

The CEO of the company behind the effort said the projects would create hundreds of jobs in areas around the two cities.

Electric cars batteries being replenished at recharging stations, file photo. Image: Yle / Mira Bäck

A subsidiary of the state-owned Finnish Minerals Group is planning to build two battery materials plants in the cities of Hamina and Kotka, in the country's southeastern region of Kymenlaakso.

The firm, Finnish Battery Chemicals, signed preliminary agreements with the two cities about the location of the large-scale projects on Wednesday.

The SVP of Finnish Mineral Group Vesa Koivisto — who is also acting as CEO of the battery materials subsidiary — said the projects had been examined and approved by the cities' respective local governments and that when completed, the facilities would employ hundreds of workers.

"This is an important milestone for us to ensure we have the land plots. We have a clear vision. A couple of weeks ago, a reasoned conclusion from the environmental impact assessment was also reached. The documents stated that the projects were feasible from an environmental point of view," Koivisto said.

Once completed, the facilities will produce materials needed for the production of lithium batteries in electric vehicles.

Work ongoing

Work on the design of the two facilities is well under way, according to Matti Hietanen, the CEO of Finnish Minerals Group.

"Things are moving forward as planned. Initial work is being carried out, planning is being done to identify and specify [its implementation], how much it will cost and how the mills could be implemented there," Hietanen said.

The minerals firm has planned for some time to open two new battery materials plants in Finland which would manufacture materials needed to produce the lithium batteries used in electric vehicles.

Four cities were under consideration as sites for the projects, including Kotka and Hamina as well as Kokkola in Central Ostrobothnia, and Vaasa, on the west coast.

"During the [selection] process, we separated Kotka and Hamina into one entity. Now it is a pleasure to say that factories are planned in both places. The second entity was Vaasa and Kokkola. In that case, it went to Vaasa."

"We have nothing going on in Kokkola at the moment," Koivisto explained, adding that an investment decision will also be made regarding Vaasa by the end of the year.

"Significant impact"

David Lindström, the CEO of Kotka-Hamina's regional development firm Cursor, said the battery materials plants would have a significant impact on the area, adding that he hoped the entire region of southeastern Finland would benefit from it as well.

"These projects will create real jobs and, of course, tax revenue. Tax revenue also comes from property taxes and why not in the form of land rent income? Of course, all of this will contribute to the strength of the business community," Lindström said.

"This was a wise strategic bet by the Finnish state that we have started to build in this way. I hope that we will be able to add value to it," he said.

CEO Koivisto said work on the project would continue throughout the summer and that an investment decision on the effort would be made this year. He said jobs would be created on three different levels.

"There are so-called direct jobs needed to operate the factories. Then jobs will be created in the core business environment and third, jobs are created during the construction phases," he said.

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