EVs: Pilbara Minerals/Posco to set up South Korean lithium facility; Morrow Batteries/Posco in supply of battery materials

Pilbara Minerals/Posco to set up South Korean lithium facility

Australian mining firm Pilbara Minerals has finalised a joint venture agreement with South Korean chemical/energy firm Posco Chemical, a subsidiary of giant steel maker Posco, to develop a lithium hydroxide conversion facility in South Korea. The facility in Gwangyang is expected to cost up to US$750 million and comes at the back of the growth of electric vehicle (EV) demand.

Expected to be commissioned in 2023, the conversion processing facility will supply 43 kilotonnes/year of lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM).

Lithium is used to make EV batteries and has become a highly sought after commodity as carmakers and other companies look to secure supply.

Pilbara will own 18% of the joint venture, with an option to raise its stake to 30%, 18 months after the facility ramps up, it said in a statement. Construction is set to start by March next year and the plant is expected to open in late 2023.

Under the agreement, Pilbara will supply 315,000 tonnes/year of chemical grade spodumene concentrate, the mineral that lithium is extracted from, to the facility. The company added that the larger supply agreement would not impact supply to other customers.

Morrow Batteries/Posco in supply of battery materials

In related news, Morrow Batteries (Morrow) and Posco Chemical have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development and qualification of large-scale supply of battery materials to Morrow Batteries’ lithium-ion battery cell facility to be built in the Eyde Energy Park, Arendal, Southern Norway.

As part of the agreement, Posco Chemical and Morrow will jointly develop tailored, high-end electrode materials suited for applications in Morrow lithium-ion cells, including both cathode active materials and anode materials. The joint development will aim to exploit the synergies of both companies’ innovative product design, to enhance performance and safety of Li-Ion battery cells. The collaboration is intended to result in a long-term, volume supply agreement for battery materials of Morrow’s battery cells that target significant growth markets including automotive and ESS. The agreement is non-binding, and non-exclusive.

“We will lead the European electric vehicle market by combining Morrow's innovative battery manufacturing technology and Posco Chemical's leading material technology. And We will supply the best technology solution to our customers based on our cooperation”, states Kyoung-Zoon Min, CEO of Posco Chemical.

“Our ambition is to produce among the most cost-effective and most sustainable batteries in the world. Partnering with suppliers with an excellent battery industry track record like Posco Chemical, is the base for securing quality and quantity battery material supply for our cell production in Norway,” states Terje Andersen, CEO of Morrow Batteries.

After having concluded successfully the first funding round recently, Morrow will begin soon the construction of its Battery Innovation Centre in Grimstad, and its Pilot Cell Factory (PCF) in Arendal, Southern Norway. With these facilities, Morrow will industrialise its lithium-ion battery products whose current development process is on track.

Posco Chemical is a global chemical and energy materials company established in 1971 and operates businesses such as battery materials, advanced chemical materials and basic industrial materials.

In particular, in the battery material business, Posco Chemical produces cathode and anode materials, which are key materials for batteries. It is building a global battery material mass production base in the US, China and Europe, including South Korea, and plans to have a production capacity of 400,000 tonnes of cathode materials and 270,000 tonnes of anode materials at the global top tier by 2030. Posco Chemical has technological competitiveness in developing materials for high-nickel cathode materials and high-quality anode materials for next-generation electric vehicle batteries, and has stably secured raw materials for batteries such as lithium, nickel, and right to mine graphite with Posco Group.

Founded in 2020, Morrow’s ambition is to develop and manufacture the world’s most cost-effective and most sustainable battery cells. The company’s vision is to enable and accelerate the green energy transition through smart cell chemistries, and energy saving cell production processes. (Based in the southern parts of Norway,) Morrow will establish its 42 GWh Giga-factory which utilises 100% renewable hydroelectric power to manufacture batteries with low CO2 footprint.

Leading investors are Agder Energi Venture, a wholly owned subsidiary of Agder Energi, NOAH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gjelsten Holding, and the Danish pension fund PKA.


Subscribe to Get the Latest Updates from IMA  Please click here

©2021 Injection Moulding Asia. All rights reserved.