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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €125 million loan with Umicore, the Belgian-based global materials technology and recycling group, to finance part of the greenfield production facility for cathode materials in Poland. The cathode materials will be supplied to battery manufacturers of high-tech lithium-ion batteries that are primarily used in electric vehicles.
The EIB loan will cover approximately half of the project costs in the initial phase. Around 350 full time jobs will be created, and Umicore will partner with the local engineering school. The greenfield facility will provide a reliable supply of advanced cathode materials, a key component for lithium-ion battery cell manufacturers in the region and worldwide.
Teresa Czerwińska, EIB Vice-President overseeing operations in Poland, said: “This is the first EIB loan to Umicore and we are glad we can inaugurate our partnership with such an innovative project. The trend towards the electrification of the automotive industry is gaining ground and in this context it is important to develop a European capacity across the full value chain of electric vehicle battery production”. Teresa Czerwińska added: “In March this year, the EIB signed a €480 million loan with LG-Chem Wroclaw Energy. We are playing an active role in creating the right ecosystem, in which manufacturers and suppliers work hand in hand, create qualified jobs and team up with nearby universities”.
Filip Platteeuw, CFO of Umicore, commented: “The transition to cleaner mobility is a priority in the European Union’s efforts to drastically reduce CO2 emissions, and Umicore is well positioned to support this transition. Through its integrated European battery materials supply chain, Umicore will significantly contribute to the European Union’s plans to create a competitive and sustainable battery ecosystem in Europe. The development of our rechargeable battery materials activities in Europe is a strategic growth project for Umicore and we are proud that our greenfield site in Poland has been selected by the EIB as part of its clean mobility projects.
Battery production is a fast advancing industry. The EIB recently reaffirmed its commitment to financing projects across the entire value chain. The Bank expects to increase its backing of battery-related projects to more than €1 billion of financing in 2020. This matches the level of support the EIB has offered over the last decade. Since 2010, battery projects financed by the EIB have totalled €950 million and supported €4.7 billion of overall project costs.