SK On’s battery cathode joint venture in the US with Ford and EcoPro BM will likely procure the precursor needed from a company based in South Korea owned by China’s Ningbo Ronbay New Energy Technology.
Precursors and lithium are needed to produce cathode and these materials are difficult to procure locally in the US.
The discussion over this issue had delayed the forming of the joint venture between South Korean cathode maker EcoPro BM and South Korean battery maker SK On and US auto giant Ford.
The latter two are planning to manufacture batteries together in the US through their joint venture Blue Oval SK and the cathode venture will supply the material to their battery factories.
EcoPro BM will only oversee production while SK On and Ford will procure the raw materials needed.
Precursors are made through various metals such as nickel hydroxide, manganese and cobalt.
To offset this difficulty, SK On is likely to procure its share of these raw materials from JS based in South Korea.
JS is owned by Ronbay and has two subsidiaries of its own called EMT and TMR, which handle precursor and battery recycling, respectively.
SK On will likely bring back scrubs leftover from its battery factories to South Korea to be recycled by TMR.
Meanwhile, Blue Oval SK is building factories in Kentucky and Tennessee and is planning an additional one.