LG Energy Solution said it had agreed to establish a new joint venture with China’s Huayou Cobalt focused on recycling EV batteries.

The firms would build two factories in China, a pre-treatment plant in Nanjing to process used batteries and battery parts plus a second plant in Quzhou to extract metals from the processed battery scrap. Construction of both plants was scheduled to start this year, with completion late 2024.

China has by far the largest EV market globally with 5.4m sales last year and a further 1.5m plug in hybrids, making it one of the best locations for battery recycling.

For LGES, the joint venture would offer a new, sustainable source of battery raw materials. The company has an EV battery plant in Nanjing while Huayou Cobalt is based in Tongxiang.

The recycled metals, nickel, cobalt and lithium, would be reprocessed into cathode materials and supplied to LGES in Nanjing.

LGES said in a statement the joint venture would help “ensure a stable supply of waste batteries and battery scraps that are vital to the company’s initiative toward establishing an integrated closed loop manufacturing system and further strengthen its competitive edge in securing key battery raw materials”.

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It added the joint venture would also “reinforce its cost competitiveness by increasing the amount of retrieved metals through adopting new techniques, as well as cutting recycling costs. In addition, by situating both the pre-treatment and post-processing facilities in proximity to its Nanjing plant, LGES will be able to establish more solid closed-loop recycling system in China”.