Trafigura-backed Finnish miner Terrafame to build EV battery plant

Finland's nickel and cobalt miner Terrafame has decided to invest in battery manufacturing for electric vehicles by building a chemicals plant, which will be partially funded by commodity trader Trafigura, the company said on Friday.

The plant will produce chemicals for use in electric vehicle batteries located at its industrial site in Sotkamo, Finland.

The plant will cost about 240 million euros, Terrafame said, and that Trafigura will lead an additional financing package worth about 100 million euros for the investment.

Most electric vehicles rely on lithium-ion batteries, with the main component comprised mostly of nickel. Cobalt is also a key ingredient.

Lithium-ion batteries power electric cars such as Tesla's top-of-the-line Model X to General Motors' more modestly priced Chevy Bolt.

"Our goal is to complete the plant by the end of 2020, with commercial production commencing at the start of 2021," Joni Lukkaroinen, chief executive of Terrafame, said in a statement.

Last year, Terrafame announced an extension in its exclusive offtake agreement with Trafigura Group after the Swiss-based commodities trader provided a $200 million financing package for the miner.

Trafigura said it will market all of Terrafame's nickel and cobalt products until 2027.

(By Julia Payne; Editing by David Evans )