LG Energy Solution said on Tuesday that it will acquire 7.5% stake in Australia’s Queensland Pacific Metals for 12 billion won.
The South Korean battery maker said it also signed a 10-year deal to buy 7,000 metric tonnes of nickel and 700 metric tonnes of cobalt per year from the Australian metal smelter.
Queensland Pacific Metals is aiming to produce nickel sulfate and nickel cobalt for electric car batteries starting in the second half of 2023.
The dedicated factory for this is being built a the northern region of Queensland.
LG Energy Solution said the deal will allow it to secure a stable supply of raw material used in batteries for electric cars.
Cathode accounts for around 40% of battery costs. Cobalt uses materials such as nickel and cobalt. Nickel in particular is an important raw material that can determine the traveling distance per charge of batteries.
High capacity lithium-ion batteries mostly use cathodes that are made out of over 80% in nickel.
According to market research firm CRU, nickel demand in 2021 was 2.6 million metric tonnes and this is expected to grow to 3.1 million metric tonnes by 2024.
Meanwhile, Posco also took part in the stake-purchase deal in Queensland Pacific Metals. It will buy a 3.2% stake for 5 billion won. Posco will be procuring 3,000 metric tonnes of nickel and 300 metric tonnes of cobalt a year for ten years starting in 2023 from the Australian company.