While Ford and SK On – the EV battery-focused division of SK Innovation – finalized a new joint venture dubbed BlueOvalSK back in July, the South Korean company isn’t done expanding its own side of the business by a long shot. In fact, SK On is investing $22 billion in its U.S.-based manufacturing operations alone in the coming years, and is also in the process of beefing up its European presence as well. However, SK has also been hard at work shoring up partnerships with other companies – including Atom Power and Global Lithium Resources – as it aims to secure the raw materials it needs to support those expansions. Now, SK has announced its latest such deal, this time with Lake Resources.
SK signed the deal with Lake Resources – an Australian lithium supplier – in its latest effort to strengthen its battery materials supply chain amid growing demand and various global and geopolitical issues, and has assumed a 10 percent stake in the company. Lake Resources will begin supplying SK On with lithium in Q4 of 2024 as part of the five year deal, which also includes an option for another five years.
Over that time span, Lake Resources will supply SK with 15,000 tons of lithium in the first two years and 25,000 tons from the third year on, meaning the Korean battery maker can secure a total of 230,000 tons of lithium – enough to produce batteries for approximately 4.9 million all-electric vehicles. SK is currently considering using this lithium in its U.S.-based manufacturing operations, which include a plant in Georgia that began production earlier this year, with a second facility scheduled to come online in 2023. BlueOvalSK Battery Park is expected to join those locations in 2025.
“Lake Resources fits particularly well with SK On’s ESG (environmental, social, governance) policy as it utilizes environment-friendly direct lithium extraction technology for production of lithium,” said SK On Vice President Jinsuk Ryu. “With this agreement, both parties will strengthen mutual partnership to advance opportunities to secure sustainable sourcing of raw materials in the future.”