South Korean copper foil manufacturer SK Nexilis said it had signed a deal with German automotive battery manufacturer Varta to supply future lithium-ion mass production plants.

Copper foil is a key component in battery anodes.

SK Nexilis, a subsidiary of South Korean chemicals group SKC, said it had signed an exclusive deal to supply foil to Varta’s first electric vehicle (EV) battery plant, according to local reports.

Details remained confidential but the deal was understood to run for at least five years with initial terms expected to be extended in line with growing demand for EV batteries.

The news came shortly after SK Nexilis signed a KRW1.4trn (US$1.1bn) contract to supply foil to Sweden’s Northvolt for its European EV battery operations.

SK Nexilis claims technology to produce the world’s thinnest copper foil as well as widest and longest rolls of up to 1.4 metres and 77km respectively.

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Last week, it announced an agreement to establish a joint venture in North America with Toyota Tsusho Corporation to produce battery grade copper foil for the fast growing electric vehicle (EV) industry. SK Nexilis said it aimed to have global capacity for 250,000 tons of foil per year by 2026.

In addition to factories in South Korea, the company is building a plant in Malaysia scheduled for completion towards the end of this year and a Polish factory which is expected to become operational in 2024.