BASF and Eramet will work together to secure nickel and cobalt production

In December 2020, BASF and Eramet agreed the development of nickel and cobalt refining complex as follows.

BASF and Eramet have signed an agreement to jointly assess the development of a state-of-the-art nickel and cobalt hydrometallurgical refining complex. Such a development would include a High-Pressure Acid Leaching (HPAL) plant and a Base Metal Refinery (BMR). The HPAL would be located in Weda Bay, Indonesia. However, the location of the BMR will be determined during the feasibility study.

The HPAL plant will process locally secured mining ore from the Weda Bay deposit to produce a nickel and cobalt intermediate. Since the acquisition of Weda Bay in 2007, Eramet carried out extensive geological work and confirmed the potential of this world-class deposit. Its mining operations started at the end of 2019. The BMR will supply nickel and cobalt to produce precursor cathode active materials (PCAM) and then cathode active materials (CAM) for lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles.

Nickel is the essential material for EVs

Securing access to raw materials, especially nickel, is a critical component to support the strong growth in the global electric vehicle value chain. The share of high nickel CAM is rising to meet the demand for higher energy density batteries and reduce overall battery costs. Weda Bay’s resources rank among the most competitive globally for addressing this demand. The planned development will provide BASF access to an additional secure source of 42,000 metric tons of nickel. In addition, the company will secure 5,000 metric tons of cobalt annually from mines operating according to internationally recognized sustainability standards.

The project targets a start-up of the HPAL and BMR facilities in the mid-2020s. It will commence in the first phase feasibility study with limited funding.

Christel Bories, Chairman and CEO of Eramet commented: “We aim to develop mining, refining and recycling projects with a fully integrated approach throughout the EV value chain. Partnering with BASF is a unique opportunity in line with our strategy to provide a solid and sustainable supply for the batteries industry”.

Who is BASF?

Based on its homepage, we can see the company profile, Purpose and Action Areas of BASF as follows.

We create chemistry for a sustainable future

We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. More than 117,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers. In addition, it happens in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio has six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of around €59 billion in 2019.

Our Purpose

The purpose of BASF reflects what we do and why we do it: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. We want to contribute to a world that provides a viable future with enhanced quality of life for everyone. This is why we offer products and solutions that make the best use of available resources and help to overcome challenges. To reach these goals, we have defined our action areas.

Our strategic action areas

We want to reach our goals and be the leading company in the chemical industry for our customers. Thus, we are strengthening our performance in innovation and in operations as the leading chemical producer and plant operator. In addition, we leverage digital technologies and data to create additional value added for us and our customers. We are embedding sustainability even more deeply into the steering of our business. We want to foster a passion for our customers in all employees.

Finally, We are expanding our portfolio and refining our organization to better meet customer needs using the power of our Verbund integration. To this end, we have defined six strategic action areas on which will continue to base our activities.

Who is Eramet?

According to its homepage, company profile of Eramet is described in the following way.


The future is being built before our very eyes, faster than we can imagine. From the augmented human to green mobility, smart interfaces and hyperconnected cities, the digital revolution is changing our society. Also, it is changing how society operates. On the other hand, artificial intelligence is opening up infinite horizons. At the same time, humanity is facing an unprecedented challenge in its history: to succeed in an essential energy transition. To transform, industry needs increasingly advanced raw materials. These natural resources are vital and we need to learn to use them even more responsibly. At Eramet, we’ve decided to tackle these huge challenges head-on.

We’re developing innovative processes, working on major projects and learning to bring together industrial activity and respect for our planet. Through our civic engagement, we are contributing to the development of our employees and communities alike. With an entrepreneurial spirit, openness and pragmatism, a new momentum is transforming our Group across the world. The paramount driving force is to develop sustainable and value-adding performance.

Eramet is reinventing itself and wishes to create a world that’s unspoilt and benefits the community at large.

Competition to secure raw materials becomes intensified

In several decades, China searched raw materials to be a global powerhouse in various industries. Cobalt, which can be cathode of lithium-ion batteries, is one of the essential and precious raw materials in lithium-ion batteries. Nearly half of Cobalt is reserved in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In fact, DRC produced more than half of Cobalt in 2016. Therefore, DRC is the most important country in terms of the production of Cobalt. Thus, this fact is the critical part of Electric Vehicles. What’s more, China controls many Cobalt mines in DRC and this fact might be the risks for other countries to manufacture EVs.

In this sense, the agreement between BASF and Eramet is reasonable. This is because the European Union aims to be carbon neutrality and lots of Electric Vehicles should manufactured and sold in the EU. When we think of entire supply chain, it is better for manufacturers to secure and control enough raw materials. Even though new agreement is still the starting point to do so, we can assume that other European companies will follow this action.

What’s more, European automotive manufacturer including Volvo declared they will be full electric within the decades.