Sumitomo Metal Mining (SMM), a prominent vertically integrated miner, refiner, and producer of cathode active materials (CAM), has announced a significant investment of 16.9 million Canadian dollars in Nano One Materials, a Canadian battery developer. This strategic partnership aims to expedite the commercial production of cathode materials, with a particular focus on LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) and NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) varieties.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Japanese conglomerate will acquire approximately 5.5 million ordinary shares through a private placement, priced at CAD 3.07 per share. Upon the completion of the transaction, Sumitomo will hold a stake of approximately five percent in Nano One. This investment places Nano One's current valuation at 338 million CAD.
Sumitomo Metal Mining, with a storied history spanning more than four centuries, has a notable presence in the battery materials sector, having offered nickel-containing precursor materials for battery production for several years. It wasn't until 2022 that the company expanded its portfolio to include LFP materials. While the primary focus of the collaboration with Nano One is anticipated to center around LFP materials, the possibility of exploring NMC materials remains open.
Nano One's strategic vision includes the construction of its inaugural commercial LFP manufacturing facility, situated adjacent to its existing pilot plant in Candiac, located in the Canadian province of Quebec. The company is currently in the advanced stages of a front-end loading feasibility study (FEL-2), a crucial step in determining critical factors such as manufacturing costs, production line dimensions, total capacity, and project timelines.
This strategic partnership adds another dimension to Nano One's collaborative efforts, as it had previously entered into a development agreement with BASF in 2022. Additionally, in the same year, commodities behemoth Rio Tinto invested ten million dollars in Nano One, reflecting the growing interest and investment in innovative battery technology.
Sumitomo Metal Mining's investment in Nano One underscores the global significance of advancing battery technology, particularly in the context of electric mobility and renewable energy.