Talga brings ABB into European battery factory and mine project

Matthew Farmer 11 December 2020 (Last Updated December 11th, 2020 15:42)

Talga Group and ABB have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of an anode development project in Sweden.

Talga brings ABB into European battery factory and mine project
Talga aims to be the main European producer of battery anodes, developing its project with ABB. Credit: Talga.

Talga Group and ABB have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of an anode development project in Sweden.

The Vittangi Anode Project, started by battery component manufacturer Talga, would create a graphite mine in northern Sweden. Integrated with this, an anode manufacturing plant would produce components for lithium-ion batteries.

From 2023, the developers hope to produce 19,000 tons of anodes per year from their facility 15km from the town of Vittangi. In a statement, an ABB spokesperson said the site was, “crucially, close to emerging European battery gigafactories currently under development”.

Earlier this year, the European Investment Bank loaned $350m to Northvolt to develop a 32GWh lithium-ion battery gigafactory in northern Sweden. The ABB/Talga plant would also lie relatively close to the 32GWh Freyr battery factory in northern Norway.

While there are at least 20 different battery production plants announced within Europe, those using graphite will likely rely on imported sources. China produces the overwhelming majority of the world’s graphite, followed by countries such as Brazil, Canada, and India.

The companies’ statement says that Sweden has ‘significant’ reserves it can use. The project aims to meet “a proportion of the additional demand” from future battery use.

Talga and ABB aim to become leading European anode source

The project will use renewably-generated power. Talga completed a pre-feasibility study for the project in May 2019, and it will complete a more detailed study in the first quarter of 2021. Construction would then start from 2022.

Talga made the announcement as part of an event with Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, looking at battery supply chains. In his presentation, Talga managing director Mark Thompson said the initial Vittangi project would require $174m in capital expenditure. From 2025, the companies may look to develop an expansion mine, requiring $1.2bn of expenditure including contingency.

ABB North Europe division manager for process industries Björn Jonsson said: “Supporting the development of Talga’s Vittangi Anode Project provides us with an opportunity to use our industrial automation and smart electrification technologies, applied towards construction of key operations for the emerging European battery supply chain.”

In November, state-owned Swedish mining group Luossavaara-Kiirrunavaraa Aktiebolag executed a non-binding letter to establish the site’s mine.