Last week, Umicore purchased Freeport Cobalt’s cobalt refining and cathode precursor activities in Kokkola, Finland, for a total consideration of $150 million. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, is expected to be finalized by the end of 2019.

Following the refinery acquisition, Umicore and Glencore announced they have entered into a long-term agreement to supply cobalt hydroxide to Umicore’s battery materials value chain. The cobalt will be sourced from Glencore’s mining operations located in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Umicore said it has assessed each operation in the DRC as fully compliant with its sustainable procurement framework. The cobalt will be shipped to Umicore’s cobalt refineries globally, including the Kokkola refinery once the ongoing acquisition process is complete.

“Our partnership with Glencore as well as the acquisition of the Kokkola refinery demonstrate our ability to execute our growth strategy for cathode materials with consistency,” said Marc Grynberg, CEO of Umicore. “The agreement also reconfirms our strong commitment to promote a sustainable battery materials value chain globally.”

With R&D, refining, precursor production, cathode materials production and battery recycling operations located in Europe, Umicore said it will be well-positioned to serve the market with a fully integrated, sustainable and local battery materials supply chain.

The Kokkola refinery is Europe’s largest cobalt refinery. The acquired operations will supply precursors for the cathode materials production in Nysa, Poland, which is due to start in the second part of 2020.