South Korea’s SK Nexilis this week said it had signed a contract worth KRW2trn (US$1.5bn) to supply copper foil to Chinese owned electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturer Envision Automotive Energy Supply (Envision AESC) over 10 years from 2025.

The contract was estimated to be equivalent to around half of Envision’s current global requirements for the production of 35 gigawatt hours (GWh) of EV batteries per year, according to local reports citing industry sources.

The Tokyo based battery maker was originally established as a joint venture between Nissan Motor, NEC Corporation and Tokin Corporation called AESC, before China’s Envision Group acquired control in 2018. The company wants to expand its global battery production capacity to 240 GWh in the next few years with new facilities planned for Europe and North America.

SK Nexilis, part of energy and chemicals conglomerate SK Group, is one of a growing number of South Korean companies that are strengthening their positions in the global EV battery supply chain.  Earlier this year the company signed a KRW1.4bn contract to supply copper foil to Europe’s largest EV battery manufacturer Northvolt.

Other South Korean companies are currently expanding in the global copper foil market, including Solus Advanced Materials which broke ground on a new copper foil plant in Canada’s Quebec province earlier this week, while Lotte Energy Materials last month announced plans to build a copper foil plant in Spain.

According to South Korean consulting company SNE Research, the global market for copper foil is forecast to expand to 750,000 tons per year by 2025 from 270,000 in 2021.

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