Mika Lintilä (the Centre), the minister of economic affairs, is confident that the development of the battery cluster in Finland will keep going forward. Archive photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today

The decision of the British Johnson Matthey to withdraw from the production of battery materials will not affect similar projects in Finland, and the demand for nickel remains high, businessmen and officials are confident. 

Johnson Matthey previously concluded that the potential profits from the battery materials business will not be sufficient to justify further investment, so the board has decided to continue to sell all or part of this business with the ultimate intent to exit, the British manufacturer revealed in a press release. 

Mika Lintilä (the Centre), the Finnish minister of economic affairs, is confident that the message from the British company will not affect the development of the battery cluster in the country. In a commentary to the Finnish public broadcaster Yle, he noted that he was not worried about this information, and perhaps a larger investor would appear. 

Joni Hautojärvi, CEO of Nornickel Harjavalta, believes that there is enough demand for nickel despite the British company’s decision. According to Hautojärvi, Finland will remain an attractive investment destination. “I believe that the demand for nickel and cobalt in Finland will continue to grow strongly. I also emphasize that Finland’s largest battery material plant project is underway in Harjavalta. It is the most important project for us.” 

The same opinion was expressed by CEO of Finnish Minerals Group, Matti Hietanen. “Johnson Matthey’s decision is not about Finland and the country’s attractiveness—it’s a global decision. It is too early to talk about the impact of this decision on the project for the city of Vaasa, we need to wait for further information about the new owner and his plans for the production of batteries, including in Finland. The British company has begun construction of a plant in Poland and its implementation is progressing according to plan. In Finland, work has also started at the planned Johnson Matthey production site,” Hietanen said. 

There are many projects in the battery industry at different stages in Finland:

On November 8, the Finnish State Mining Company Finnish Minerals Group and China’s Beijing Easpring Material Technology reviewed a battery plant project in Kotka and signed an agreement to continue working together; 

September 14, Finnish manufacturer and service provider for automakers Valmet Automotive opened its second 500,000 battery plant in Uusikaupunki, the first in Salo; 

On August 22, 2021, the Norwegian battery manufacturer Freyr signed a letter of intent with the Finnish Minerals Group and the city of Vaasa to build a battery plant; 

On February 26, the Finnish Minerals Group announced an active stage of negotiations with the Chinese technology company CNGR Advanced Material on the construction of a battery components plant in Hamina. 

Finland aims to become a pioneer in the battery industry by creating a cluster for this production in the country. The state has a strategy in the field of batteries, during the implementation of which Finland will become a competitive, competent and sustainable part of the international battery industry, the country’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment noted earlier.