In addition to its joint-venture with Ford dubbed BlueOvalSK, South Korean EV battery maker SK On has been busy signing deals with a variety of suppliers, including SQM, Lake Resources, Urbix Inc., and Global Lithium Resources, while also building a new manufacturing plant in Georgia as it aims to significantly ramp up its production in the coming years. Now, SK On has also announced that it will be building yet another facility, this time a battery precursor plant located in Saemangeum, South Korea.
The new battery core material production facility is being erected in a partnership between SK On, cathode material company EcoPro, and Chinese battery materials producer GEM, and is expected to churn out an annual production of around 50,000 tons of precursors – a compound mixed with raw materials such as nickel, cobalt, and manganese that account for more than 65-70 percent of the cost of cathode materials – when it comes online in 2024. That’s enough to supply the production of roughly 300,000 105 kWh batteries for electric vehicles per year.
Construction on the new plant is expected to begin later this year following a collective investment of KRW 1.21 trillion ($945 million USD) between the three companies, and it will employ around 1,000 people when it opens. The precursors that will be made at the Saemangeum plant will use Nickel Mixed Hydroxide Precipitate (MHP) as a raw material, which is already produced by the joint venture consisting of these three companies in Indonesia.
“SK On, which has proven its advanced technology including the development of high-nickel, will improve its global competitiveness by strengthening the supply chain of raw materials,” said Choi Young-chan, Chief Administrative Officer of SK On. “At the same time, we will do our best to contribute to the vitalization of the local economy and grow together with the community.”
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I am not a BEV cheerleader…. however, this is an encouraging step in support of the BEV transition.
Good on Ford for making the bet, all be it a very big bet in the opinion of some.
Going forward, corporate America cannot be timid…. ‘it must be both feet in or not at all!’