Construction began at lithium hydroxide plant in Yulchon 1st Industrial Complex in Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla Province) on June 13, expected to have annual production capacity of 25,000 tons … Lithium carbonate produced by salt lake in Argentina
POSCO Group CEO Jeong-woo Choi said, “We will enhance our global competitiveness in lithium and contribute to the development of the domestic secondary battery industry.”
POSCO Group to build production hub for battery materials in Yulchon Industrial Complex
POSCO Holdings has initiated the construction of Korea’s first lithium hydroxide plant, which will produce secondary battery materials using Argentina’s saltwater resources.
The groundbreaking ceremony for this facility took place at the Yulchon Industrial Complex and was attended by various notable figures, including Rep. Cheol-soo Ahn, a member of the National Assembly’s Special Committee on Advanced Strategic Industries, and Rep. Hoi-jae Kim of the Trade, Industry, Energy, SMEs, and Startups Committee. Gwangyang Mayor In-hwa Jeong, Suncheon Vice Mayor Jeom-sik Son, LG Energy Solution President Myung-hwan Kim, and POSCO Group CEO Jeong-woo Choi also attended the event.
CEO Choi said, “We will enhance our global competitiveness in lithium and other mineral resources and contribute to the development of domestic industries, including the secondary battery sector, by leading the localization of materials.”
In his congratulatory speech, Rep. Ahn expressed his hope that POSCO would make significant progress and become a key company in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and highlighted the company’s historical significance as a symbol of industrialization in Korea. He emphasized that POSCO’s pursuit of new challenges is “very meaningful.”
In his congratulatory speech, Rep. Kim said, “We will actively support making Gwangyang a good city for business. We express our gratitude to POSCO for its significant decision to strengthen the competitiveness of new industries and revitalize the local economy.”
The new lithium factory is anticipated to have an annual production capacity of 25,000 tons of lithium hydroxide, which is sufficient for manufacturing approximately 600,000 electric vehicles. The total investment for the project is estimated at KRW 575 billion ($445 million), and the factory is expected to be fully operational by 2025. POSCO Pilbara Lithium Solution, a wholly-owned subsidiary of POSCO Holdings, will be responsible for the financing, construction, and operation of the plant.
The establishment of the lithium hydroxide plant is part of POSCO Holdings’ investment in Argentina’s lithium resources, which was announced in October last year. The initial stage of the production process, which involves producing lithium carbonate, the raw material for lithium hydroxide, will be conducted at a salt lake in Argentina owned by POSCO Holdings. The subsequent production of lithium hydroxide will take place domestically.
In 2018, POSCO Holdings acquired the Hombre Muerto salt lake in Argentina in order to secure lithium preemptively, a key material for secondary battery electrode materials. The company is currently working on the 25,000 tons scale of the initial phase of lithium from brine construction in Argentina.
POSCO Holdings plans to expand salt lake lithium production in Argentina up to 100,000 tons by 2028 with additional investments.
In the meantime, POSCO Group is building a lithium ore factory of POSCO Pilbara Lithium Solution in the Yulchon Industrial Complex. It is also operating the POSCO Future M electrode material factory and POSCO HY Clean Metal used battery recycling factory with the aim to develop a production hub for battery materials.