LG Chem has formed a joint venture with B&M, a subsidiary of the Chinese company Huayou Cobalt, to produce cathode materials. A second joint venture is to be set up with Kemco to manufacture precursors for cathodes.
First, on the collaboration with B&M, the joint venture, 51 per cent owned by LG Chem, is expected to start mass production of NCMA cathode materials with an annual capacity of 60,000 tonnes in the South Korean city of Gumi from the second half of 2024. Both partners will invest up to 403 million US dollars (377 million euros) by 2025.
LG had already announced the project in January. At that time it was said that the subsidiary LG Battery Core Material would start up the factory in 2024 – the same production capacity was mentioned. At that time, however, there was no talk of a joint venture.
“The establishment of the joint venture further cements our vertical integration system with key raw materials to produce affordable, high-quality cathode materials,” said Shin Hak-cheol, CEO of LG Chem. “We will further strengthen our efforts to provide world-class battery materials to our customers.”
Another LG Chem joint venture with Kemco, a subsidiary of Korea Zinc, will take care of the precursor materials for the NCMA cathodes. Here, however, LG Chem is the smaller partner with 49 per cent. The joint venture plans to produce more than 20,000 tonnes of such precursor materials in Ulsan from 2024, with recycled metals also to be used.
LG Chem says it will also use the joint venture to stabilise its supply of high-quality nickel sulphate. Kemco has production facilities for 80,000 tonnes of nickel sulphate per year. In addition, Kemco has expert technologies for extracting core raw materials for batteries such as nickel, cobalt and manganese, based on the non-ferrous metal smelting technologies of its parent company Korea Zinc.
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