Jan 5, 2021

Glencore to Supply Lithium-ion Battery Materials in Norway

Oliver Freeman
3 min
The mining behemoth is teaming up with agile battery producers from northern Europe.
The mining behemoth is teaming up with agile battery producers from northern Europe...

Glencore has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the potential supply of ethically sourced and traceable raw materials for inclusion in FREYR’s lithium-ion battery (LIB) cells, which will be produced at planned facilities in Mo i Rana, Norway.  

The two companies will jointly work to identify requirements and terms for the potential supply of raw materials to FREYR’s planned LIB facilities. For example, the companies will consider joint research and development (R&D) projects to adjust the quality, shape or form of Glencore’s raw materials to fit into FREYR’s operating units better. Additionally, the companies plan to discuss R&D projects for the recycling of lithium batteries. Both companies will discuss how they can transition to a low carbon economy by developing strategies for the use of blockchain technology. This use of blockchain has the power to improve the traceability and transparency of raw materials in the battery supply chain to help document batteries’ life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions. 

Improving the lithium supply chain

The companies will also support more responsible bespoke and small-scale cobalt mining in the battery supply chain, by supporting the development of international standards and traceability schemes for cobalt mining.

Tom Jensen, the CEO of FREYR, said: "Glencore is a global leader in supply and recycling of battery raw materials with a strong focus on responsible sourcing, sustainability and minimising the impact on the environment. We share the same ambitions and support for the goals of the Paris Agreement through decarbonisation of energy and transport systems, and to bring positive change to people and societies. We are therefore pleased to formalise our cooperation with Glencore and strengthen FREYRs sustainable raw materials supply chain.” 

  • Glencore is one of the largest mining companies in the world
  • Norway has the highest electric vehicle market share in the world
  • Freyr is planning to develop +40 GWh of battery cell production capacity by 2025

Green future

There is a growing appetite for low-cost, high-energy-density battery cells produced with renewable, locally sourced raw materials. The electric vehicle boom is mainly driving this demand for lithium and state-of-the-art battery cell technology, not to mention lightweight designs and lean manufacturing processes.

Anna Krutikov, Head of Sustainable Development at Glencore, commented, “The combination of our low-carbon metals with FREYR’s goal of producing batteries with the world’s lowest carbon content is a compelling one. We are excited to be partnering with the leading innovator in its field as we look to realise our ambition of net-zero emissions by 2050.”

The company has recently announced several initial agreements in the form of MoUs for industrial-scale offtake of battery cells in marine and stationary segments and for long-term supply of battery materials and production equipment. FREYR has also signed a non-binding framework agreement with 24M Technologies related to FREYR’s in-licensing of 24M Technologies’ advanced lithium-ion cell manufacturing process and platform. FREYR continues to develop partnerships across the value chain, which the company states will be announced when they are formalised. The Norwegian firm plans to develop 40+ GWh of battery cell production capacity by 2025 to position itself as one of Europe’s largest cell suppliers. 

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May 4, 2021

IHS Markit/CIPS: UK Manufacturing PMI near-record high

Georgia Wilson
3 min
Manufacturing UK | Smart Manufacturing | Industry Trends | Supply Chain | COVID-19 | IHS Markit | CIPS
Latest IHS Markit/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI statistics report a near-record high in April, despite the sector continuing to face supply chain disruption...

Riding on the momentum of March 2021 which saw the fastest output growth since late-2020, IHS Markit/CIPS reports a further acceleration in the rate of expansion in the UK manufacturing sector for April 2021.

UK manufacturing trends

For the UK manufacturing sector, growth of output and new orders were both reported by IHS Markit and CIPS as among the best seen over the past seven years, which in turn has led to a strong increase in employment. Despite this, the sector continues to face supply chain delays and input shortages, which resulted in increased purchasing costs and record selling price inflation.

UK Manufacturing IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®)

Seasonally adjusted, IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) rose to 60.9 in April, which was an increase compared to March (58.9) and above the estimated 60.7 for April. 

Increasing for the eleventh consecutive month, the latest readings are the highest since July 1994 (61.0). The output growth for April has been attributed to the loosening of lockdown restrictions, improving demands and a rise in backlogged work.

“The manufacturing sector was flooded with optimism in April as the PMI rose to its highest level since July 1994, bolstered by strong levels of new orders and the end of lockdown restrictions opened the gates to business. It was primarily the home market that fuelled this upsurge in activity though more work from the US, Europe and China demonstrated there were also improvements in the global economy. This boom largely benefited corporates as output growth at small-scale producers continued to lag behind,” said Duncan Brock, Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply.

In addition to expanding production, total new orders rose for its third consecutive month, which was attributed to a revival of domestic market conditions, stronger client confidence, parts of the economy reopening and improving global market conditions.

While new exports rose in April, the rate was reported as weaker in comparison to new orders. “Companies reported improved new work intakes from several trading partners, including mainland Europe, the US, China and South-East Asia. Large-sized manufacturers saw a substantial expansion in new export order intakes, compared to only a marginal rise at small-sized firms,” said IHS Markit/CIPS.

UK Manufacturing’s outlook

Remaining positive at the start of the second quarter, 66% of companies forecast that output will be higher in a year's time, which is attributed to expectations for less disruption related to COVID-19 and Brexit, economic recovery, improved client confidence and new product launches.

“Further loosening of COVID-19 restrictions at home and abroad led to another marked growth spurt at UK factories. The headline PMI rose to a near 27-year high, as output and new orders expanded at increased rates. The outlook for the sector is also increasingly positive, with two-thirds of manufacturers expecting output to be higher in one year’s time. Export growth remains relatively subdued, however, as small manufacturers struggle to export,” said Rob Dobson, Director at IHS Markit.

Adding to comments from IHS Markit and CIPS, Sarah Banks, Managing Director of Freight and Logistics at Accenture Global said: “While today’s figures are positive overall, the worsening supply situation is still a concern, with rates of both input costs and selling price inflation running far above anything previously seen. Shipping delays and material shortages are driving huge backlogs of uncompleted work and the surge in manufacturing orders is leading to many firms struggling to boost operating capacity to keep up with demand. With business expectations becoming even more optimistic as the economy rebounds, the big question will be whether firms will be able to cope with the surging inflows of new orders.

“As ongoing supply chain issues are still at large, companies with wide international footprints should look to reassess their logistics strategies by running supply chain stress tests and simulations in order to respond quickly to upswings and variability in demand. A flexible and resilient supply chain will be a key way for businesses to remain both competitive and stable as we emerge from the pandemic” 

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