Terrafame gets permitting tick for Sotkamo battery chemicals plant

State-owned mining company Terrafame is a step closer to building a $200 million battery chemicals plant in Sotkamo, Finland, after the local government signed off on construction.

The municipality’s building authorities have granted the permit for two buildings in accordance with the application submitted in May.

The project involves a 7,750 m² building for the “crystallisation phase” of the production process and a 10,540 m² building for the extraction phase, according to Terrafame.

Terrafame CEO Joni Lukkaroinen said: “Obtaining a building permit is one important milestone in this project. We are now proceeding to the earthwork construction and continuing with the detailed designing of the plant.”

The buildings are intended to be located on the opposite side of the railway line to Terrafame’s current metals production plant in Sotkamo (pictured). Here, the company processes the nickel-, cobalt- and zinc-rich pregnant leach solution that comes from mining and bioleaching ore at the nearby mine.

Terrafame has been investigating the production of battery chemicals since the beginning of 2017 and, over the past months, has progressed the project from feasibility to the detailed engineering.

The company is also carrying out an environmental impact assessment, for which a report is currently being prepared.

The new production plant under consideration would have a capacity of approximately 150,000 tonnes of nickel sulphate and 5,000 t of cobalt sulphate per year, making Terrafame one of the largest nickel sulphate producers globally. In addition to the sulphates used in electric vehicle batteries, the plant would produce ammonium sulphate.

Last year, a cooperation network was set up specifically to obtain international investment in a “battery cluster” in Finland.