South Korean electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturer SK On Company plans to build a battery precursor plant with EcoPro Company and China’s GEM Company as the company targets growing global demand for EV materials.

According to local reports, the three companies plan to build a processing plant in Saemangeum, an industrial complex built on reclaimed land on South Korea’s southwest coast, to produce precursor materials for battery cathodes which can account for up to 70% of the cost of EV batteries.

The new KRW1.2trn (US$925m) factory would have a production capacity of 50,000 tons per year, enough for 300,000 EVs annually, once operational in 2024.

The plant would mix cobalt and manganese with intermediate material MHP sourced from Indonesia.

Last November, the firms agreed to establish a three way joint venture in Indonesia to build a processing plant to produce 30,000 tons of mixed nickel cobalt hydroxide precipitate (MHP) annually in the country which has among the richest nickel deposits in the world, from 2024.

EcoPro plans to ship cathodes with precursors from the Saemangeum plant to SK On plants worldwide, including the US based battery manufacturing joint venture with Ford called BlueOval SK.