SEOUL, June 2 (Korea Bizwire) — POSCO Future M Co. said Friday it has agreed with U.S. General Motors Co. to build a facility to manufacture precursors, expanding the joint venture into the intermediate battery material.
Ultium CAM, the joint venture between the two companies, will seek to complete the precursor plant by 2026, in addition to the ongoing project in Canada for a cathode factory.
The location of the envisioned precursor plant has not been decided yet, and the companies are considering a number of regions, including the Becancour site in Quebec, where Ultium CAM is building its cathode plant, POSCO Future M said.
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.
Ultium CAM also announced a 13.18 trillion-won (US$10.09 billion) deal to supply high-nickel cathodes to Ultium Cells LLC., the joint venture between GM and South Korea’s LG Energy Solution Ltd., the second-largest battery producer, over the next nine years.
POSCO Future M, the industrial materials unit under South Korean steel giant POSCO Holdings Inc., is building what will be the first cathode manufacturing facility in Canada for its joint venture with GM, in a project valued at US$633 million.
The factory aims to be completed in the second half of 2024.
Cathodes are a key component consisting of nickel, lithium and other materials used to make electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Cathodes determine the power of EV batteries and make up about 40 percent of the cost of a battery.
POSCO Future M said the latest investment for the precursor plant will help the two companies bolster their capacity in the production of battery materials and better respond to the burgeoning EV demand and the regional supply chain policy in North America.