SK On announces plan for precursors joint venture in South Korea

SK On, cathode material company EcoPro, and Chinese battery material manufacturer GEM are building a production plant for precursors for electric car batteries. The site should be completed by the end of 2024 and have an annual capacity of 50,000 tons of precursors.

The three companies will invest 1.21 trillion South Korean won (about $931) in the production site in Saemangeum, South Korea. Construction will kick off this year. Once completed, capacity is expected to “increase sequentially,” though the companies do not mention at what capacity will start.

According to SK On, precursors are a core material “that account for more than 65 per cent to 70 per cent of the cost of cathode materials.” Once at full capacity, the plant can produce precursors for cathode materials needed for about 300,000 electric cars.

The three partners had previously announced a joint venture for the production of nickel intermediates in Indonesia. The factory in Sulawesi will be able to produce 30,000 tonnes of pure nickel per year from the third quarter of 2024. This is enough for electric car batteries with a total capacity of 43 GWh or for 600,000 cars.

Both announcements come after SK On received 2.8 trillion won in additional capital to expand its business (about $3,6 billion). At the time, the group said that this strategy would ensure that SK On could respond to the growing demand for batteries for electric vehicles in the medium to long term.


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