POSCO Chemical finalizes battery material contract with GM

By Lim Chang-won Posted : May 27, 2022, 13:49 Updated : May 27, 2022, 13:49

[Courtesy of POSCO Chemical]

SEOUL -- Buoyed by a deal with General Motors, POSCO Chemical, a unit of South Korea's top steel group POSCO, aims to tap Europe and Indonesia as part of its aggressive strategy to build a mass-production base abroad and become a global player in the battery material market.

POSCO Chemical and General Motors have agreed to build their joint venture plant in Quebec, Canada, to produce high-nickel cathode active materials. In a regulatory filing on May 27, the Southg Korean company said it has signed a final contract with GM to produce 30,000 tons per year for use by 220,000 electric vehicles with an initial investment of $327 million.

Construction is to begin in August for completion in 2024. The two companies would gradually increase the amount of investment to boost the production of their joint venture named "Ultium CAM."

POSCO Chemical regards the plant in Becancour as a stepping stone for its drive to build a supply chain of core battery materials in North America, where the electric vehicle market is rapidly growing. Under an eight-year contract, high-nickel cathode active materials produced at the Quebec site will be supplied from 2025 to Ultium Cells, a battery joint venture between GM and its South Korean partner, LG Energy Solution.

POSCO Chemical aims to increase its annual cathode production capacity from 105,000 tons to 345,000 tons in 2025 and 610,000 tons by 2030. The company has set a goal to expand its annual anode material production capacity from 84,000 tons in 2022 to 170,000 tons in 2025 and 320,000 tons in 2030.

"We will produce the highest quality battery materials and increase customer competitiveness based on close cooperation between the two companies."  POSCO Chemical CEO Min Kyung-zoon said in a joint statement. POSCO Chemical is the first battery material company to form a joint venture for cathode active material with an automobile company in North America. 
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