Belgian Umicore to Produce Cathode Materials in Poland

Poland has been selected as the first European country to manufacture cathode materials for electric cars on behalf of the Belgian company Umicore.

The announcement follows a meeting last October, hosted by the European Union, which brought together auto, chemical and engineering executives to discuss the possible cathode production in Europe.

The Umicore plant will be based in Nysa, in southern Poland, an area already close to Umicore’s key customer base, with deliveries beginning by 2020.  The first phase is scheduled to create 400 jobs. Umicore Chief Executive Marc Grynberg claimed this development would “significantly contribute to the European Union’s initiative to promulgate a leading rechargeable battery industry based on innovative technologies and a sustainable supply chain.”

Umicore has been present in Poland since 1996, with Nysa picked above other locations such as Antwerp due to the possibilities of accessing a skilled workforce, and low-carbon electricity supply. The development will also support the government’s Electromobility Development Plan. The Umicore Group generated a turnover of 12.3 billion euros in 2017, employing 9700 people.

The news comes shortly after South Korean company LG Chem announced its intention to open Europe’s largest lithium-ion battery plant in Poland. LG Chem intends to spend 5.9 billion zlotys on the development, to be built just outside Wroclaw. It has also been reported that the Polish branch of the Chinese giant Guotai-Huarong Poland will build a plant – also in the south of the country – along one of the world’s leading suppliers of electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries, the Chinese company GTHR.