POSCO’s battery material 'ambition'

by:CTECHi     2021-09-14
According to foreign media reports, South Korean steel giant Posco (POSCO) stated that it has signed an agreement to acquire Australia’s Ravensthorpe nickel mine (Ravensthorpe) for USD 240 million (approximately RMB 1.5 billion). % Of shares to boost the electric vehicle battery business. Pursuant to the agreement with Canadian mining company FirstQuantumMinerals Ltd., POSCO will obtain a long-term purchase agreement. Starting from 2024, it will produce 7,500 tons of nickel each year in Ravensthorpe, including mixed nickel cobalt hydroxide precipitates (MHP). , This number is enough to make about 180,000 electric cars every year. FirstQuantumMinerals said it expects the transaction to be completed sometime in the third quarter of 2021. In addition, POSCO and FirstQuantum Minerals have also reached a memorandum of understanding to explore a partnership for using Ravensthorpe's MHP to produce battery cathode precursor materials (possibly in the form of nickel sulfate). In December last year, POSCO purchased a 15% stake in Australian graphite producer BlackRock Mining for US$7.5 million, and POSCO obtained the permanent right to acquire the anode material powder produced at the Mahenge mine. Posco said it is investing in graphite mines in Africa and Australia to establish a value chain for secondary batteries. Its plan is to reduce the dependence on my country's raw materials to less than 50% in the medium and long term through diversified graphite supply. In addition to acquiring raw material miners for positive and negative materials, POSCO has been trying to expand its EV battery business. In the first quarter of this year, due to the good performance of EV battery-related businesses, its net profit more than doubled year-on-year. In mid-April, Pohang Steel said it would build a plant in South Korea to extract lithium hydroxide. The plant is scheduled to start construction in the first half of this year, with an annual output of 43,000 tons of lithium hydroxide, enough to produce about 1 million electric vehicles. POSCO plans to import spodumene from Australia and extract lithium hydroxide from the plant. POSCO acquired the lithium mining rights in Argentina from the Australian lithium miner Galaxy Resources for US$280 million in 2018. It owns 22,800 hectares of mining rights in the area. In addition, POSCO will start to build a plant near the Salardel Hombre Muerto salt lake in northern Argentina in the next few months, with an annual output of 25,000 tons. Posco said it plans to increase its annual domestic and international lithium production to 220,000 tons by 2030. At present, POSCO, a subsidiary of POSCO, is the main supplier of positive and negative materials for Korean battery companies such as LG Chem, Samsung SDI, and SKI. Pohang Chemical announced in February this year that it plans to invest 275.8 billion won (about 1.57 billion yuan) to expand the production of cathode materials for EV batteries. In April, foreign media reported that Pohang Chemical signed a supply contract with UltiumCells, a joint venture battery company between General Motors and LG New Energy, and will start supplying positive and negative materials for it next year. In order to meet the needs of the downstream market, Pohang Chemical is currently actively expanding its output of positive and negative materials. Its goal is to increase the annual output of cathode materials at the Gwangyang plant in South Korea to 100,000 tons by 2023, which will be enough to make about 1.1 million electric vehicles equipped with 60-kilowatt-hour battery packs. By 2030, Posco plans to expand its annual output of cathode materials to 400,000 tons, and its output of anode materials to 260,000 tons, further increasing its share of the international market for anode and cathode materials.
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