LG Energy Solution (LGES) has expanded its cobalt sourcing agreement with Canada’s Electra Battery Materials to supply its expanding factories in North America.

The EV battery manufacturer agreed to buy 19,000 tons of refined, battery grade cobalt from Electra from 2025 to 2029. Previously, it had agreed on 7,000 tonnes of cobalt sulphate over three years from 2023.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Electra claims the only cobalt sulphate refinery in North America which is still under construction north of Toronto in Ontario, home to Canadian vehicle manufacturing for years. The new agreement would help reduce further LGES dependence on Chinese suppliers.

Electra is also building a black mass recycling plant to recover key minerals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and graphite from expired lithium-ion batteries with commercial operations scheduled to start in 2024.

LGES is currently building several full scale EV battery plants in North America which are scheduled to be completed in the next three years.

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Electra said research carried by CRU Group estimated China is responsible for 71% of refined cobalt, 76% of refined nickel and 93% of refined manganese used in EV batteries.

But favourable public policy, including the US Inflation Reduction Act and growing EV adoption rates, are accelerating the development of a North American refining and battery recycling ecosystem.