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Posco lays foundation stone for South Korea’s first lithium plant

15. July 2021

A groundbreaking ceremony was recently held in Gwangyang, Jeonnam Province, for the first lithium production facility in South Korea. For Posco, this step is another milestone in creating its own supply chain for batteries manufactured in South Korea, having already completed a factory for the production of cathodes, also in Gwangyang. To ensure the importation into Korea, electric vehicle components, which include batteries, among others, must undergo certification for the KC mark or KC certificate.



Korean steel giant Posco said at the groundbreaking ceremony in late May that the factory will be able to produce about 43,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide annually at full capacity, a key raw material for making vehicle batteries. The company is investing $680.4 million to build the lithium plant, which covers 19 hectares and is located within the Yulchon Industrial Complex in Gwangyang, 418 km south of Seoul. Construction is scheduled to end in 2023. Posco said the amount of lithium that will be produced annually at the new factory is enough for the main drive batteries of about 1 million electric cars.

When completed, the factory will be the first lithium production facility in South Korea and will play an important role in making the country independent of lithium imports, which currently stand at 100 percent. The lithium hydroxide produced in the future will be an important core material for the cathodes of vehicle batteries with a nickel content of 80 percent or higher. The industry has recently become aware of the new material, which, compared to the current lithium carbonate, can significantly increase battery capacity and thus the range of electric cars.

Plans for the lithium plant in Gwangyang were approved by the supervisory board in April, and a new company called Posco Lithium Solutions was established. This is to operate the new plant and extract lithium hydroxide from ores supplied by a partner in Pilbara, Western Australia.

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MPR Author

About the author: Julian Busch is founder and managing director of MPR International GmbH
Publisher: MPR International GmbH

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