Anglo American cements renewable tech deal with the Finnish government

Finland is gearing up to develop its industry to become the world’s leading manufacturing and value-adding hub. File image.

Finland is gearing up to develop its industry to become the world’s leading manufacturing and value-adding hub. File image.

Published Feb 13, 2024


With the race to electric vehicles hotting up, Anglo American is broadening its exposure into electric battery manufacturing after signing a memorandum of understanding to explore opportunities with the Finnish government.

The diversified resources group believes that “low carbon technologies, such as renewable power generation infrastructure and electric vehicles (EVs) powered by batteries and fuel cells (will) generate additional demand for many metals”, including battery metals.

While prices of some metals used in the manufacture of vehicles such as platinum have been volatile, spelling uncertainty for PGM producers such as Anglo American, Impala Platinum and Sibanye-Stillwater, the uptake of hybrid vehicles has provided some respite. Anglo American and Sibanye-Stillwater have also started to bump up their exposure in lithium mining.

This has led to Anglo American and Finnish Minerals Group signing an agreement “to work together to explore opportunities” in Finland’s battery metals and value chain industry.

Finland is gearing up to develop its industry to become the world’s leading manufacturing and value-adding hub, attracting companies such as Anglo American and Sibanye-Stillwater, which has also invested into the Keliber lithium project in the European country.

Alison Atkinson, the Anglo American projects and development director, said yesterday that Finland was a “highly attractive investment destination” and has a strong heritage in both mining and innovation.

“We look forward to working with Finnish Minerals Group, whose mission is to responsibly maximise the value of Finnish minerals, to explore the wealth of opportunities that our agreement could offer,” said Atkinson.

Finnish Minerals Group is the country’s holding and development company that manages the Finnish government’s mining industry shareholdings. It is also involved in the development of the Finnish battery value chain.

Anglo American employs about 50 people at its Finnish battery metals project, Sakatti, a multi-metal deposit containing copper, nickel and cobalt among other metals. Signing the agreement with Finish Minerals Group “further strengthens” Anglo’s “commitment to Finland” as well as to the Sakatti project.

Anglo American described the Sakatti deposit as a “true polymetallic ore body very much aligned to Finland’s and the EU’s critical minerals priorities” that are seen to include energy transition.

“Sakatti is designed as the next generation of FutureSmart Mining building on what we have learnt in terms of minimal surface footprint and using technology and innovation to deliver ever better environmental and social outcomes, whilst producing essential raw materials needed to transition to a greener, low carbon energy future,” said the company.

It further stated that Finland was providing investors with a stable and secure source of many of the metals and minerals needed for the world’s decarbonisation efforts.

“Exploring joint opportunities with Anglo American is a natural choice for us as they already know the Finnish operational environment. We believe this collaboration reinforces both parties by combining local and global know-how in sustainability and technological development, thus maximising the value of Finnish minerals responsibly,” said Jani Kiuru, senior vice-president for raw materials at Finnish Minerals Group.

The Finnish government company’s strongest assets include Terrafame, a subsidiary that produces nickel and cobalt sulphates, Sokli, a phosphate and rare earths deposit; and a 20% interest in Keliber, the battery-grade lithium project aiming to start production next year.

In the longer term, Anglo American believes the evolution away from carbon-emitting technology could introduce downside demand risk for some materials such as PGMs.

“Our efforts to capitalise on the unique qualities and unparalleled versatility of PGMs continue to grow in a variety of future-focused applications. These include investing in the development of palladium containing lithium battery technologies,” Anglo American said in its 2022 annual report.