South Korea's POSCO and Samsung SDI are to invest jointly in a new factory for cathodes for lithium-ion batteries in Chile, a move that will help them secure future supplies of raw materials for such EV batteries.

This is Posco's second move into the lithium-ion battery materials sector in as many weeks, after the South Korean leading steel producer recently acquired a 4.75% stake in Australian lithium producer Pilbara Minerals while also securing substantial future lithium supplies.

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Samsung SDI is one of the leading global manufacturers of electric vehicle batteries with factories in China, South Korea and Hungary. 

The new KRW57.5bn (US$54m) cathode factory is expected to become operational in the second half of 2021 in the northern Chilean city of Mejillones.

It will produce up to 3,200 tons of cathodes for electric vehicle batteries per year with the supply of minerals including lithium guaranteed by the Chilean government.

A formal announcement along with shareholder details will be made by the companies at the formal memorandum of understanding ceremony later this month.