South Korean battery material firm EcoPro will form a joint venture with its Chinese counterpart GEM that focuses on producing material needed in batteries, TheElec has learned.
The pair already operates a joint venture called EcoPro Materials, which makes cathode precursors and recycle batteries.
The new venture will focus on producing nickel hydroxide, cobalt hydroxide and manganese by importing raw materials from China.
The move is likely a reaction to the US Inflation Reduction Act. Making materials in South Korea is cheaper.
EcoPro’s move will also mean that it will compete directly with LG Chem and Korea Zinc’s joint venture as well as Posco which has the same business.
Nickel and cobalt hydroxides are used to make cathode precursors. Lithium, manganese and aluminum are added to form the cathode.
Controlling the who value chain for these materials allows companies such as EcoPro to save on cost and increase profitability.
If its new venture with GEM does smelting as well, EcoPro can effectively control the whole value chain of battery cathodes.
In March, Gem signed a deal with EcoPro BM to supply them with 700,000 metric tonnes of precursors for high-nickel cathode from 2023 to 2026.