SK Nexilis said it had started commercial production at its newly-built copper foil plant in Malaysia to target growing demand for the material from the global electric vehicle (EV) industry.

Ultra thin copper foil is used as a separator material in EV batteries. SK Nexilis, a subsidiary of South Korean chemicals group SKC, was estimated to be the largest producer of the material.

The new plant in Kota Kinabalu is the company’s first overseas factory to come on stream. It can produce the claimed longest (77km), thinnest (4 micrometre) and widest (1.4m) copper foil rolls available. A roll produced at the plant typically weighs 7-8 tons, according to the company.

A second plant on the same site is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2024, giving the company a combined annual production capacity in Malaysia of 57,000 tons per year following investment of KRW900bn (US$694m).

SK Nexilis said it aimed for global capacity of 250,000 tons by the second half of the decade. The company is currently building more factories in South Korea and Poland and recently agreed to build one in North America with Japan’s Toyota Tsusho.

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