SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Korea Bizwire) — POSCO, the world’s fifth-largest steelmaker by output, is considering buying stakes in graphite mines in Australia and Mozambique, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.
The move is part of POSCO’s efforts to diversify import sources of graphite, a material required in making anodes, he said.
An anode is a key material in a battery that preserves lithium coming from the cathode and generates electricity while releasing lithium.
A cathode is one source of lithium in a lithium-ion battery and is also a key component for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
Currently, POSCO imports all of the graphite it uses to produce anodes from China.
POSCO said the envisioned stake purchases in graphite mines in Australia and Mozambique would lower its heavy reliance on China to less than 50 percent in the medium to long term.
The official did not provide further details on the possible stake purchases in graphite mines in Australia and Mozambique.
POSCO said it plans to import 220,000 tons of lithium and 100,000 tons of nickel per year by 2030 to ensure its affiliate, POSCO Chemical Co., can produce 400,000 tons of cathodes and 260,000 tons of anodes by 2030.
POSCO Chemical has said it plans to supply cathodes to EV battery facilities in South Korea, Europe, China and the United States.
The EV battery market has been on a roll as automakers around the world race to go electric and eco-friendly due to tightened regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, which scientists say are to blame for global warming.