POSCO Future M Co., a leading secondary battery materials producer, said Wednesday it has teamed up with a Chinese cobalt producer to invest 1.7 trillion won (US$1.27 billion) to build production facilities for battery precursors and anode components.
The precursor factory will be established under a joint venture with Huayou Cobalt Co., a major global cobalt producer, in an industrial complex in Pohang, about 260 kilometers southeast of Seoul, the chemical materials unit of POSCO Holdings Inc. said.
Of the investment, 1.2 trillion won will be spent on building a facility that produces battery-grade precursors and high-purity nickel for use in making battery components. It will go into commercial operations in 2027.
A precursor is a specific chemical form containing nickel, cobalt, manganese and aluminum before it is turned into cathodes, a key secondary battery material that determines the power and range of electric vehicle batteries. Precursors account for 65-70 percent of the cost of cathodes.
The two companies, along with the Pohang city and the government of North Gyeongsang Province, signed the memorandum of understanding for the project earlier in the day.
POSCO Future M said it plans to increase its annual cathode production to 610,000 tons by 2030. It also plans to boost its annual precursor output to 440,000 tons from the current 15,000 tons.
POSCO Future M will invest 500 billion won to expand the anode production facility in Pohang over the next two years. It expects to boost the anode production capacity to 320,000 tons by 2030 from the current approximate capacity of 52,000 tons.
Learn more: YONHAP News Agency