South Korea’s steel giant POSCO plans to build Korea’s first ever lithium-hydroxide extraction factory in Gwangyang, Jeollanamdo. Lithium-hydroxide (LiOH) is one of the most important components when building battery cathodes for electric vehicles. With the rising demand for batteries because of a rapidly growing EV-market POSCO wants to prepare for the future, in accordance to its own expansions in the EV-production business.
As the lithium price is rising continuously due to the rapid increase in EV-production, South Korea aims to be less reliant on importing Lithium from the global market. So far Korea had to import its lithium from South America, the US and China.
The factory is going to be a joint investment by POSCO and the Australian lithium producer Pilbara Minerals.
Construction of the plant will already start in mid 2021 and the factory will be finished by 2023. By then the new lithium factory will produce around 43,000 tons of lithium per year. With this amount POSCO can directly and locally supply the lithium for up to 1,000,000 electric vehicles batteries. Building on this, POSCO is already planning to further expand the extraction of lithium so that by the end of 2030 over 220,000 tons of lithium can be directly extracted at Jeollanamdo.
Gwangyang in Jeollanamdo was the logical choice for POSCO as it has already been running a demo-factory in Gwangyang and is operating additional factories in the Gwangyang Bay Area. Just earlier this year in February POSCO Chemical has announced the 4th expansion of its battery cathode plant in Gwangyang. Therefore the extracted lithium can be directly processed at Gwangyang.
As one of the most important locations in EV production and research, Jeollanamdo is also hosting the yearly Yeonggwang e-Mobility EXPO in Yeonggwang. For further information click here.