How Harjavalta Avoided Sanctions | Finland Today | English News
Nornickel Harjavalta, which processes Russian raw materials, is owned by a huge metal and mining group whose largest owner is Vladimir Potanin. The Russian war has not affected the productivity of Finnish factories and maintains plans to expand its capabilities, the Finnish economic publication Talouselämä reported on July 6, 2022.
Finland is trying to dispose of Russian oil, but nickel imports are unaffected by the war. For this reason, nickel has overtaken oil as Russia’s largest import product, according to publications.
Imports of nickel and nickel products from Russia in April increased by 72% from April 2021. Nickel imports have also increased.
The main consumer of Finnish raw materials is the Nornickel Harjavalta Nickel Refinery, which is part of the Norilsk Nickel Group in Russia. Noril Sknickel’s revenue in Finland last year was around € 1.5 billion.
This year’s production remains at last year’s levels, said Joni Hautojärvi, CEO of Nornickel Harjavalta, in a comment to Talouselämä. “The shipment of raw materials was temporarily suspended in the spring, but it is now operating normally.”
Raw materials are transported by rail from Russia to Finland. Talouselämä says nickel imports are likely to increase in the future as the Harjavalta plant plans to expand production in line with plans announced last year.
“As part of our expansion investment, we are increasing the production of nickel chemicals used in electric vehicle batteries,” said Hautojärvi.
According to the European Battery Alliance, the European industry needs these chemicals as the production capacity of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles will increase to about 400-500GWh hours by 2030.
This will require the production of approximately 200,000 to 300,000 tonnes of nickel in the short term.
This is probably one of the reasons why nickel cargo is normally transported, and nickel is currently excluded from European Union sanctions.
The Harjavalta factory is important for parent groups.
Norilsk Nickel produces about 5% of the world’s pure nickel production in Harjavalta, about a quarter of which is directed to the electric vehicle industry.
“Investing in plant expansion consists of two phases. In the first phase, we will increase nickel production from the current 65,000 tonnes to 75,000 tonnes, which should be achieved as early as next year.” Hautojärvi said. “In the first stage, the production bottleneck will be eliminated, and in the second stage, the current operation will be expanded.”
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