It is also considering producing nickel matte
LG Chem and Korea Zinc are planning to form a joint venture that will produce battery materials during the first quarter this year, TheElec has learned.
The joint venture will produce precursor used in the production of battery cathode, sources said.
The venture may also manufacture nickel matte, the raw material needed to produce nickel sulfate, they also said.
Korea Zinc has so far focused on manufacturing copper, iron and lead __ nickel matte is a new area for the company.
Nickel matte is made from smelting nickel __ it has around 70% to 75% nickel in it.
The material is refined to make nickel with 99.9% purity.
Nickel is currently in short supply __ price of nickel has skyrocketed to US$22,200 per tonne recently, its highest in ten years.
The joint venture between LG Chem and Korea Zinc will procure nickel matte produced by itself or the subsidiary of Korea Zinc that currently makes the material.
It will then process them to precursors to supply to LG Chem for the production of battery cathode.
Compatriot Posco also built a new high-purity nickel factory last year, with one of its group affiliate providing the nickel matte for the process.
Posco uses a wet process for the production of nickel matte but Korea Zinc is planning to use a dry process.