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FREYR, Finnish Minerals Group, and City of Vaasa partners for industrial battery cell tech in Finland

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FREYR Battery has announced that it has entered into two non-binding memoranda of understanding ("MoU") with Finnish Minerals Group and the City of Vaasa, respectively, for strategic collaborations on the potential development of industrial-scale battery cell technology and production in Finland.

The Nordic region offers competitive advantages for sustainable, low-carbon battery cell production at scale through low-cost renewable energy, local supply of battery raw materials, and highly skilled employees.

FREYR plans to develop up to 43 GWh of battery cell production capacity by 2025 with an ambition of up to 83 GWh in total capacity by 2028 to position the company as one of Europe's largest battery cell suppliers.

Finnish Minerals Group acts as a holding company in the Finnish mining and chemical industry providing low-carbon materials to the battery industry and is supportive of establishing local Nordic and European battery technology supply chains. The MoU with the City of Vaasa provides FREYR with the exclusive right to a 90-hectare (900,000 square meters) site for a potential battery cell plant and states that the parties will explore opportunities for joint site development to accelerate the supply of low-carbon and low-cost batteries in Finland.

"Developing strong regional value chains for the supply of sustainable, low-carbon battery materials to our planned factories in Norway and potential factories in the Nordic region with short-traveled materials is a key element of FREYR's ambition of providing battery cells produced with the industry's lowest CO2 footprint and high ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) standards to all our customers," said Torstein Dale Sjøtveit, the Founder and Executive Chairman of FREYR. "We look forward to exploring a potential industrial scaling of battery cell technology including development of both traditional and next-generation production capacity together with Finnish Minerals Group."

"Vaasa offers an attractive location for a Gigafactory inside the EU with access to local, short-traveled raw materials, abundant renewable power, and cooling water, plus an existing cluster of leading suppliers for the battery value chain," said Tom Einar Jensen, the CEO of FREYR. "The natural advantages offered by the area combined with the Vaasa region's forward-thinking leadership, planning and actions to take a pole position within the EU and sustainable battery cell manufacturing, provides a strong foundation for a potential long-term cooperation."

Finnish Minerals Group manages the Finnish State's mining industry shareholdings and is working actively to develop a local lithium-ion battery value chain and engaged in long-term technology development of the mining and battery industry. Finland is the largest nickel producer in the EU and the only EU member state with industrial-scale cobalt production. Production of lithium is also expected to commence in Finland over the next few years.

"One of Finnish Minerals Group's strategic objectives is to create a sustainable battery value chain in Finland. As part of this, our objective of introducing precursor and cathode active material production investments is already well progressed. Now our disclosed strategic partnership with FREYR marks the next logical step in our work to put Finland on the map of European cell plant projects. FREYR has the right ambitions of speed and scale, and we share the same commitment to ESG as fundamental value drivers, "says Matti Hietanen, CEO of Finnish Minerals Group.

In 2017, the City of Vaasa started developing an area 12 km southeast of the city centre to create a cluster focused on the entire battery value chain, known as the GigaVaasa area. The ambition was to create an innovative and sustainable environment for developing green batteries by enabling a vertically integrated production of battery materials and cells to meet rapidly growing demand from electrical vehicles and the European electrical and work machine industry and to support the electrification and transformation of the Finnish energy technology industry. FREYR holds an exclusive right up until 22 of July 2022 to the selected 90-hectares subject to certain conditions related to the progress of the project being met. The site is adjacent to a battery cathode material production facility planned by Johnson Matthey in strategic partnership with Finnish Minerals Group.

"We are proud to welcome FREYR to our City as a potential partner in our work to facilitate the next stage of development of modern, sustainable export industry in the Vaasa region. We are confident that a modern production plant for low-carbon battery cells supported by a qualified workforce and sustainable natural resources will benefit our local area and Finland as well as make a great fit to the EnergyVaasa ecosystem," said Tomas Häyry, the Mayor of Vaasa. "We believe the FREYR management team's extensive project experience and focus on safely and rapidly scaling industrial battery cell production make the company a strong potential partner for us. Furthermore, we share a strong Nordic approach and commitment to environmental, social, and governance topics."

With these planned joint efforts, FREYR Battery, Finnish Minerals Group, and the City of Vaasa intend to make an important step towards the development of sustainable battery cell production at scale in Finland, building on the natural competitive advantages of this already zoned location in Vaasa. Potential GWh capacity, technology platform, and investment levels are all parameters that will be decided as part of the future process. FREYR has initiated preparations for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), with the ambition to start production of battery cells in 2025, subject to entering into definitive agreements, obtaining necessary permits, and bringing the project to the final investment decision. The potential battery cell production is expected to create many attractive jobs and positive multiplier effects, the exact number, however, is too early to quantify at this stage. 

Author : Moulin Oza
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