A significant increase in production will require Nornickel Harjavalta to apply for a new environmental permit.

Photograph: Norilsk Nickel

The recent event, held in Harjavalta Hall, was part of the environmental impact assessment process.

In practice, the company is increasing its production in two parts. Over the next year, nickel production is expected to increase from 60,000 tons to just under 75,000 tons per year.

Under the company’s current environmental permit, the annual nickel production is limited to 90,000 tons.

The company aims to increase annual nickel production to more than 100,000 tons by 2026. This will require a new environmental permit from the authorities.

By expanding production, Nornickel Harjavalta will meet the raw material needs of the growing battery industry. Locally, the company’s most important customer in the battery industry is planned to be BASF Battery Materials Finland Oy.

The battery industry in particular needs nickel sulfate and cobalt sulfate produced by Nornickel Harjavalta, says Joni Hautojärvi, the company’s CEO.

The expansion will bring 10–20 new jobs to the area.

Nornickel’s current production in Harjavalta directly employs around 300 people. The expansion will bring 10–20 new jobs to the area. In the first phase, the company plans to increase production mainly by removing bottlenecks in the production process.

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The subsequent increase in production will require the construction of a new solvent building, an extension of the extraction plant and an activated carbon filtration plant, as well as a solution storage and loading site.

In addition, the company plans to expand the container storage area and build a new copper slag storage and packaging area.

The company’s activities will not extend beyond the boundaries of the Industrial Park but will be expanded within the industrial estate. The largest construction project will be a solvent building of approximately 3,500 square meters, says Marko Mikkola, EHSQ and development director at Nornickel Harjavalta.

The company plans to double its container storage, as the expansion will increase the number of raw material containers. The increased container traffic will also be served by the planned expansion of the Harjavalta railway yard.

A noteworthy feature of the Nornickel Harjavalta expansion is that the doubling of production volume will, according to the company, maintain the environmental impact at the current level.

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One of the starting points for the expansion is that emissions will not increase, but will remain within the limits of the current environmental permit, according to Mikkola.

Raw material flows will also increase but will remain within the current permit limits.

“Recycled materials will also play a bigger role on the raw material side in a few years’ time,” says Mikkola.

Raw material lye transport will also be visible outside the fences of the Industrial Park. The demand for lye will increase from 52,000 tons to an estimated 60,000 tons per year. It will be transported by trucks from the ports.

Instead, sulfuric acid, oxygen and nitrogen will be sourced from inside the site.

Similarly, the amount of iron pyrites from waste is expected to approximately double.

Comments and opinions on the Nornickel Harjavalta program can be submitted to the Southwest Finland Environment Centre until June 30.

The ELY Centre will then issue its own opinion by the end of July.