LG Chem establish precursor joint venture with domestic firm to strengthen battery material value chain

By Lim Chang-won Posted : June 2, 2022, 09:52 Updated : June 2, 2022, 09:52

[Courtesy of LG Chem]

SEOUL -- LG Chem, a chemical unit of South Korea's LG Group, will establish a  precursor joint venture with a domestic company to strengthen its battery material value chain. Precursors are raw materials for cathodes, which are manufactured by combining metals such as nickel, cobalt, manganese, and aluminum.

KEMCO will own 51 percent of the joint venture, and LG Chem controls 49 percent. The construction of a joint venture plant is to begin in July for mass production in the second quarter of 2024.  

The joint venture will invest more than 200 billion won ($160 million) by 2024 to build an exclusive line for the production of 20,000 tons of precursors per year for NCMA batteries that contain nickel, cobalt, manganese and aluminum. The joint venture will produce precursors using metals supplied by KEMCO, and recycled metals extracted from waste scrap and waste batteries.

LG Chem will receive high-quality nickel sulfate from KEMCO. Based on the nonferrous metal smelting technologies of its mother company, Korea Zinc, KEMCO possesses technologies for extracting core raw materials for batteries such as nickel, cobalt, and manganese.

"We will achieve ceaseless growth in the eco-friendly battery materials business through bold investments and collaboration," LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-cheol said in a statement on June 2.

LG Chem has tried to establish a stable supply network of raw materials for its battery-making subsidiary, LG Energy Solution (LGES), through a series of preemptive investments and partnerships with foreign companies. Three days ago, LG Chem agreed to set up a joint venture with Tianjin B&M Science and Technology (B&M), the subsidiary of its Chinese partner, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt.

The joint venture between LG Chem and B&M would invest about 500 billion won by 2025 in LG Chem's cathode material plant, which is to be completed in 2024 in Gumi some 202 kilometers (126 miles) southeast of Seoul. The plant in Gumi will produce some 60,000 tons of cathode materials a year for NCMA batteries.

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