The upgrade conforms to Umicore's strategy of securing supply for the growth of its Rechargeable Battery Materials business unit.
The upgrade conforms to Umicore's strategy of securing supply for the growth of its Rechargeable Battery Materials business unit.

Umicore, a market leader in the production of cobalt powder, has announced plans for significant investments at its cobalt refining and recycling plant in Olen, Belgium. The investments, which could total some €25 million, would centre on the upgrade of the cobalt refining and recycling plant. They would also involve the modernization of a number of on-site facilities in order to further improve the EHS performance of the site. 

Umicore also plans to improve plant efficiency and suggests that by 2020 the site should be able to operate with 70 fewer people than it does today.  ‘Such a reduction could be achieved over the coming five years by not replacing retiring employees and therefore without the need for any lay-offs,’ it said in a press release.

The upgraded refining facility would enable Umicore to increase its production of cobalt and also increase its ability to recycle cobalt and nickel-bearing residues. According to the company, the upgrade conforms to Umicore's strategy of securing supply for the growth of its Rechargeable Battery Materials business unit as well as for the cobalt and nickel activities in its Cobalt & Specialty Materials segment. 

Global market

‘We need to do all we can to ensure that Olen remains competitive in a challenging global market and I am convinced that these investments will enable us to achieve this,’ said Jan Vliegen, senior vice-president of Cobalt & Specialty Materials and site manager of the Olen plant.

This story is reprinted from material from Umicore, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.