The South Korean company Posco Chemical is planning to build another factory for cathode materials in its home country. This is to be built in the coastal city of Pohang and will have an annual capacity of 60,000 tonnes. But plans for plants abroad are also becoming more concrete.
After completion in 2025, the Pohang plant will be Posco Chemical’s third factory for cathode materials in South Korea. The subsidiary of the Posco steel group estimates the investment in the new plant at 600 billion won, the equivalent of about 445 million euros. Pohang is located near Ulsan, where Hyundai operates a large vehicle plant.
Together, the three plants will offer an annual production capacity of 160,000 tonnes, enough to supply 1.8 million electric vehicles with 60-kWh battery packs. The two existing plants are in Gumi and Gwangyang, with the company announcing an expansion for Gwangyang in February. At the time, there was talk of 100,000 tonnes for 1.1 million electric cars when the work was completed in 2023. Currently, capacity at Gwangyang is 30,000 tonnes per year.
But plans for overseas cathode material factories are also becoming more concrete. While in February it was only stated that plants in China and Europe were planned, a representative of the company now stated that the planned overseas plants are to have a total capacity of 110,000 tonnes to increase Posco Chemical’s global production capacity to 270,000 tonnes by 2025.
While China and Europe were previously mentioned, the US is now also listed as a possible location. The US giants GM and Ford as well as the Stellantis Group with its US brands such as Jeep, Ram or Dodge are known to be investing heavily in electric mobility. South Korean cell manufacturers are also involved in the electrification offensive of the US corporations, such as LG Energy Solution as a joint venture partner of GM or SK Innovation as a cell supplier for the Ford F-150 Lightning. The LG-GM joint venture Ultium Cells has already confirmed that it will rely on preliminary products from Posco.
Steel company Posco has been investing in battery materials to diversify its business since 2018. At that time, EV components were identified as a future growth area and the first plants were commissioned – in addition to cathode material, Posco also produces anode materials. In addition, the group has secured access to various raw materials such as lithium, nickel and graphite.