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Chief executive of AMTE battery company gives assurance on future of Thurso site

By Gordon Calder

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AMTE chief executive Kevin Brundish.
AMTE chief executive Kevin Brundish.

The Thurso base of AMTE Power is central to the company's expansion plans, according to chief executive Kevin Brundish.

He made the pledge about the Caithness site and its 35 staff following the announcement that the battery cell manufacturer is to build a megafactory in Dundee and create more than 200 highly-skilled jobs.

Local MP Jamie Stone said he is disappointed the company is investing in another part of Scotland rather than capitalising on "the skills and expertise that already exist in Caithness".

But Mr Brundish, replying to questions from the John O'Groat Journal, gave an assurance on the future of the Thurso site.

He said: "We’re excited to be announcing plans for our first megafactory in Dundee, enabling us to meet rising demand from the electric vehicles and energy storage markets. This new factory builds on the excellent work already being done by our team at our facility in Thurso and the long-standing experience we have there.

"Thurso will continue to be an important base for us for small-scale manufacture and cell development."

Mr Brundish added: "Dundee and Thurso will be used to produce our lithium-ion and sodium-ion battery cells, with the addition of Dundee allowing us to scale up to mass production volumes. Our talented team at Thurso is central to our expansion plans – everyone is looking forward to being part of our growth journey over the coming years.

"At present, we have around 35 people working at our Thurso base, and these jobs will remain in place with the addition of our megafactory in Dundee."

The company's megafactory will be built in Dundee
The company's megafactory will be built in Dundee

Mr Stone, the Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, said: "It is disappointing that AMTE Power have chosen to make this major investment in another part of Scotland, rather than capitalising on the skills and expertise that already exist in Caithness.

"AMTE Power has given assurances that no Thurso job losses will result from this decision and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure this remains the case.

"I believe Caithness remains a very attractive place for businesses to invest."

However, Trudy Morris, the chief executive of the Caithness Chamber of Commerce, backed the plan. She said: "It is really good news that AMTE have selected a Scottish site for their megafactory. This is something that has been on the cards for some time and is a significant investment by the company.

"Thurso enables AMTE to perfect the manufacturing process and anticipate what challenges or opportunities large-scale manufacturing rates might bring. Therefore, it remains core to AMTE’s manufacturing capabilities, providing capacity to accelerate the development of next generation cells and scaled production.

"The Dundee megafactory will be built on the back of this in-depth experience, so it is great to see Thurso play such a key role in this development."

The mixing process at AMTE Power's Thurso base
The mixing process at AMTE Power's Thurso base

Maree Todd, the Caithness, Sutherland and Ross SNP MSP, said: "As the local MSP, I want to ensure that we make Caithness an attractive location for leading companies, like AMTE Power, to base themselves and expand activities. I am conscious however, that we need to improve local infrastructure and connectivity to allow us to secure more investment in the far north."

She added: "We are making progress – the reintroduction of air links at Wick John O’Groats Airport is representative of this and I’m confident that we will attract many economic opportunities to the area as a result.

"I visited AMTE Power’s manufacturing plant in Thurso last year where I was impressed by the company’s passion for developing the workforce and enhancing opportunities in the area. It’s clear AMTE value their role as a major employer in the community."

The Dundee factory, which is expected to be operational towards the end of 2025, is to be built at the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc in the city.

AMTE Power is one of the only businesses in the UK producing battery cells and has had a production base at Denchi House in Thurso Business Park for over 30 years.

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