POSCO Chemical Company announced it planned to build a plant in South Korea this year to produce precursor materials for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, as demand for zero emission vehicles continues to grow.

The company, a subsidiary of South Korea Posco Group, one of the world’s leading automotive steel manufacturers, said it planned to spend KRW600bn (US$487m) to build a facility in the southern port of Gwangyang with an annual production capacity of 100,000 tons per year, enough for 1.2m EVs.

Precursor is an intermediate material used in batteries, consisting of materials such as nickel, cobalt and manganese. The plant will help local battery manufacturers reduce their dependence on Chinese suppliers, the company confirmed.

Posco Chemical said it aimed to increase its overall annual production capacity of precursor materials from the current 15,000 tons to 185,000 tons by 2025. The company has already announced plans to build a plant in China with the capacity to produce 35,000 tons of cathode and precursor materials per year and is also looking to build a facility in Europe.