Posco Chemical, GM to build cathode material plant in Quebec
Posco Chemical said Friday it has signed a deal to create a joint venture with General Motors to launch a cathode materials plant in Quebec, Canada.
Posco Chemical will invest 351.2 billion won ($278 million) in the joint venture, called Ultium CAM, to build a high-nickel cathode materials plant in Becancour, Quebec. The total investment will be $327 million.
The factory will have a 30,000 ton annual capacity, which is enough to supply around 220,000 electric vehicles (EVs).
Cathodes are one of four core materials in lithium-ion batteries, which power electric vehicles. Made of lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese, cathode materials account for 40 percent of the production cost of an EV battery.
Construction of the plant is scheduled to begin in August and is expected to be completed by the second half of 2024.
The cathode materials that are produced will be sold to Ultium Cells, a 50:50 joint venture between General Motors and Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution that makes batteries for the U.S. automaker’s EVs.
Posco Chemical’s relationship with Ultium Cells started in 2020, when it was chosen as cathode materials supplier. Posco Chemical was also chosen as Ultium Cells' anode materials supplier, another key component of an EV battery.
Posco Chemical has invested 600 billion won in its Gwangyang cathode materials factory to ramp up output from 40,000 tons to 60,000 tons per year. Construction is expected to finish in July.
Last year, the company announced an investment of 281 billion won to build a cathode materials plant in China with an annual manufacturing capacity of 30,000 tons with local partner Huayou Cobalt.
Posco Chemical aims to increase its annual production capacity for cathode materials from 105,000 tons per year in 2022 to 345,000 tons per year in 2025 and 610,000 tons in 2030.
The anode production capacity will increase to 170,000 tons in 2025 and 320,000 tons in 2030, it said.
"Based on close cooperation between the two companies, we intend to produce quality battery materials to raise the competitiveness," said Min Kyung-zoon, CEO of Posco Chemical.
BY SARAH CHEA [firstname.lastname@example.org]