Products of Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel were ranked first in the Finnish imports from Russia in March 2022, Finnish Customs data showed.
“The most notable increase in imports involved nickel and nickel goods. Their value increased by 175.2 million euros and 456 per cent in comparison with last year. The import quantity of nickel and nickel goods rose also significantly,” the Finnish Customs report said.
The company – the world’s largest producer of refined nickel reported a 10 per cent increase in nickel production in the first quarter 2022.
In 1Q22, consolidated nickel output reached 52 thousand tonnes. The increase in production was attributed to the low base of the first quarter 2021, when Oktyabrsky and Taimyrsky mines were suspended due to the inflow of underground water as well as the Norilsk Concentrator due to an accident.
The miner is set to increase battery-grade nickel output and considers an expansion of battery metals portfolio.
In late April, Nornickel announced its intention to establish a joint venture with Rosatom to develop the Kolmozerskoye lithium deposit in the Murmansk region and deep process lithium raw materials.
The Kolmozerskoye deposit is the biggest (18.9% of the Russian lithium resources) in Russia. The joint venture between Nornickel and Rosatom intends to participate in the auction for the license to develop the deposit. The auction is expected this year.
“Global demand for lithium is projected to increase fivefold by 2030. Russia also needs its own lithium raw material and the creation of a production chain from ore mining to battery production,” said Sergey Stepanov, Nornickel’s Senior Vice President – Production Director. – In this regard, Nornickel and Rosatom have decided to combine their respective competencies within the framework of the Kolmozerskoye deposit development project. Today a letter of intent has been signed and preliminary technical documentation for the project has been developed.
The new lithium deposit is located in close proximity to the Finnish border, where Nornickel has plans to cooperate with the German chemical giant BASF.
Earlier, Norilsk Nickel signed a letter of intent to establish a battery-recycling cluster in Harjavalta, Finland, to serve the electric vehicle market in partnership with Finnish energy company Fortum and BASF. This will successfully complete the “closed loop” recycling cycle for critical metals found in used batteries.