South Korea’s Posco International this week said it would source 90,000 tons of natural graphite per year from Africa to strengthen its position in the global electric vehicle (EV) battery supply chain.

The company said it was expanding in Africa’s secondary battery raw material sector after signing two memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with mining companies in Madagascar and Tanzania.

In late August, the company signed a preliminary agreement in Madagascar’s capital city Antananarivo with Canadian mining firm NextSource, to jointly invest in NextSource’s Molo graphite mine.  The event was attended by Posco International vice chairman Jeong Tak and NextSource CEO Craig Scherba.

The Molo mine was estimated to have 22m tons of graphite reserves and Posco plans to secure around 30,000 tons of natural graphite and 15,000 tons of spherical graphite annually over 10 years.

A second agreement was signed in early September in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with Australia’s Black Rock Mining and Faru Graphite Corporation. The three companies have agreed to jointly invest in developing the Mahenge Graphite mine in Tanzania, with Posco planning to increase its natural graphite sourcing from the mine to 60,000 tons per year. The South Korean company earlier this year had already invested US$10m in Black Rock Mining’s Mahenge mine. Posco will supply the graphite to the group’s POSCO FUTURE M Company, a major global producer of battery components including cathodes, anodes and precursors.

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