POSCO FUTURE M Company said it aimed to become South Korea’s largest producer of battery cathode materials by 2030 with global production now expected to exceed 1m tons annually by 2030, up by 40% on its previously announced plans.

This would also represent a tenfold increase on the 105,000 ton annual production capacity it had in place at the end of 2022. Other domestic manufacturers are also stepping up their production plans as the country plans to establish itself as the leading global supplier of electric vehicle (EV) battery materials and the main competitor to China.

EcoPro Company’s last stated cathode material production target is for just over 700,000 tons by 2027 while LG Chem’s current target is just under 500,000 tons per year by 2028 and L&F Company with 400,000 tons by 2026. SK Chem has also begun to invest heavily in this segment. All are likely to increase their targets as global automakers step up their plans to transition to zero-emission vehicles.

Cathodes are a key component of batteries, representing around 40% of the cost of a typical EV battery cell.

Posco expects to have at least three main cathode materials production plants globally by 2030, including in Pohang and Gwangyang in South Korea and in Canada. A third domestic plant is also under consideration, in the Saemangeum Industrial Complex on the west coast, while additional capacity could be built in North America.

The company has won long term battery materials supply contracts worth a total of US$65bn globally, including from local battery manufacturers Samsung SDI Company and LG Energy Solution, while its Ultium CAM Canadian joint venture with General Motors will mainly supply the US carmaker.

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By GlobalData