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Umicore signs long-term agreement with Terrafame for the supply of sustainable low carbon nickel

Regional website Canada

Umicore has signed a long-term agreement with Terrafame Ltd. for the supply of low carbon, sustainable high-grade nickel sulphate. Following the successful completion of the qualification process, commercial deliveries have already started with further ramp-up of volumes to take place during 2023.           

With this partnership, Umicore and Terrafame reconfirm their strong commitment to establish a sustainable battery materials value chain in Europe. The European value chain will secure the high quality European origin battery materials which are fully aligned with the environmental and human rights principles outlined in Umicore’s Global Sustainable Sourcing Policy as well as Terrafame’s sustainability commitments in line with the leading global sustainability principles. Moreover, the low carbon footprint of Terrafame’s processes was a critical consideration for Umicore in light of its ambition to decarbonize the battery materials value chain. 

“Umicore’s partnership with Terrafame provides yet another important contribution to the European Union’s Green Deal ambitions and to achieving a regionally independent and sustainable supply chain for EV battery materials in Europe.

Umicore’s contribution to creating a sustainable battery supply chain and to reducing the scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions of our customers is part of our sustainability convictions and our differentiating competitive and strategic positioning.”

Mathias Miedreich, CEO of Umicore

High-quality nickel is a critical raw material for the production of cathode materials used in batteries for electric vehicles. Against a background of an accelerating transition to electromobility in Europe, this agreement for locally produced nickel sulphate allows the industry to meet the growing demand for cathode materials from its customers in the region. This agreement will cover a substantial part of the future nickel requirements of Umicore’s cathode materials plant in Poland. This plant, which started production mid-2022 and is fully powered by renewable electricity, is Europe’s very first gigafactory for cathode materials.

“The European customers not only benefit from secure access to critical raw materials. They also know that these raw materials are obtained with a significantly lower carbon footprint and that we at Umicore, in turn, process them using green electricity to produce cathode materials for electric vehicle batteries,” Miedreich continued. 

“We have conducted a rigorous product qualification process together with Umicore and are pleased to have started commercial supplies meeting Umicore’s high standard on quality and sustainability. Terrafame’s unique and energy-efficient production process allows more than 60% reduction of the carbon footprint of battery grade nickel compared to the current industry average”, says Joni Lukkaroinen, CEO of Terrafame. 

This agreement complements Umicore’s diverse long-term supply contracts for critical battery metals -- lithium, cobalt, nickel -- and follow long-term agreements for the sustainable supply of lithium.