SK Nexilis, a South Korean manufacturer of copper foil used in electric-car batteries, has inaugurated the construction of a 3 billion zloty (€627 million) factory in the southeastern Polish city of Stalowa Wola. The new plant will ultimately provide employment for over 500 people.
“The decision to place our European hub… in Stalowa Wola, was obvious and rational,” said Woncheol Park, the CEO of Nexilis’ mother company SKC group, pointing to the support the group has received from the local authorities in securing permits and financing and a promise of further development of key infrastructure.
Nexilis wants the copper foil factory, located in a special investment zone established last year, to be up and running by mid-2024. The estimated production volume is approximately 137 tonnes per day and 50,000 tonnes per year, reports IBSnews.
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While 3 billion zloty will be invested in creating the plant, Poland’s state assets ministry says that the full scale of the investment is expected to ultimately reach up to 10 billion zloty and will help Poland become part of the supply chain in the development of electromobility.
“We are betting on technologies that will allow us to use new energy sources,” said state assets minister Jacek Sasin during the inauguration ceremony. “This investment is part of a global trend.”
Although electronic vehicle (EV) penetration in Poland is at less than 3%, rating agency Fitch Solutions has noted that the market is expected to grow exponentially. Already in 2021, Poland’s EV sales increased by 108.2% year on year, reaching 16,449 units.
Poland is also consolidating its “role as a key manufacturing hub for EV and EV battery production”, said Fitch Solutions, pointing to such investments as Sweden’s Northvolt’s battery factory being developed in Gdańsk and South Korea’s SKIET lithium-ion battery separator plant in Silesia.
Germany’s Volkswagen also announced last year that it was looking at Poland for its battery cell production factory planned for 2027.
Despite this, the Polish government has announced that it is opposed to an EU plan to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 and is attempting to build a coalition of countries against it, arguing that there is insufficient infrastructure for electric cars in the EU and in Poland
Alicja Ptak is senior editor at Notes from Poland and a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for Reuters.