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A WEST Australian mining group is poised to leapfrog China’s dominance in the EV industry by becoming the western world’s sole supplier from mining raw materials through to supplying batteries to EV manufacturers.

EV Metals Group (EVM), a global battery chemicals and technology company based in Perth, announced to shareholders that it will buy the assets of Johnson Matthey’s Battery Materials business for £50 million ($A88m) in cash. 

Johnson Matthey will take a minority equity stake in EVM and a seat on the board.

EVM managing director and CEO Michael Naylor said his company has a “unique resource-to-OEM” model that allows it to become “a vital supplier of high purity chemicals and Cathode Active Materials (CAM) to the fast-growing electric battery market.”

EVM’s business covers mining for battery metals, midstream chemical processing and with the Johnson Matthey Battery Materials business, can enter production of CAM for global EV and battery makers.

Michael Naylor, EVM managing director and CEO

“The acquisition of the Battery Materials business is a strong strategic fit for EVM and accelerates our mission to become the western world’s pre-eminent CAM producer,” Mr Naylor said in a statement.

“Through this acquisition, EVM will be able to progress the next generation of battery chemistry development to meet the growing and substantial market demand. 

“We plan to be in CAM production by 2024, in advance of our large upstream and midstream capacity coming online from 2025. 

“This will allow us to accelerate and provide battery cell chemistry that is matched to the needs of electric vehicle and battery cell manufacturers seeking transparent and geopolitically aligned supply chains.”

He said the Johnson Matthey deal “will create a new force in the EV supplies market.”

It is the latest – and last – step up the vertical integration ladder for EVM. In January it formed the Australian Lithium Alliance with partner and fellow lithium miner Zenith Minerals, and in February signed an agreement to build two lithium chemical processing trains in Saudi Arabia which are on line to start production in the second half of 2024.

EVM and Zenith mine and source battery raw materials that make up the CAM including lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and others, predominantly in WA.

These materials determine efficiency, reliability, costs, durability and the size of the lithium-ion battery, and therefore its application.

The Battery Materials business assets being acquired include:

  • Battery Technology Centre at Oxford, Oxfordshire
  • Battery Technology Centre at Billingham, County Durham
  • Pilot plant and laboratories at Billingham, County Durham
  • A package of patents, licences, know-how, show-how and other intellectual property rights for use in the production of pre-cathode active materials and Cathode Active Materials including eLNO, NCM, LFP and other formulations of CAM (CAM Technology)
  • The technical group of up to 100 personnel with the expertise to develop and implement CAM Technology for the commercial production of pre-CAM and CAM
  • Battery Technology Centre in Moosburg, Germany
  • Konin CAM Plant in Poland (under construction)

The sale also includes Johnson Matthey’s eLNO technology which EVM will continue to develop, along with leading NCM and LFP technologies across the battery chemistry range. 

eLNO is a superior advanced cathode material enabling electric cars to travel further on a single battery charge.

Completion of the acquisition is expected in the fourth quarter of this year.

By Neil Dowling

AdTorque Edge