Signed MOA with Ningbo Richin on the 23rd…Cooperation in nickel production for secondary batteries in the world’s largest nickel producer
Aims to produce 60,000 tons of nickel intermediate material (MHP) based on net nickel from 2025, sufficient for 1.2 million electric vehicles
Established supply chain in Indonesia, following New Caledonia and Australia…Reinforcing the global value chain of the secondary battery materials business
POSCO Holdings is starting a nickel business for secondary batteries in Indonesia, a country with strong nickel resources.
POSCO Holdings signed an MOA (Memorandum Of Agreement) with China’s Ningbo Richin Industry & Trade Co., Ltd. in Jakarta, Indonesia on the 23rd to cooperate in nickel production. With this MOA with Ningbo Richin, POSCO Holdings will also have a nickel supply network in Indonesia, the world’s No. 1 nickel producer, following New Caledonia and Australia. Indonesia is in the spotlight as a major nickel hub for secondary batteries with its total nickel reserves reaching 21 million tons.
Nickel is a key raw material that determines performance such as vehicle mileage by increasing the charging capacity of secondary batteries for electric vehicles, and demand for nickel for secondary batteries is also increasing steeply as the electric vehicle market grows.
Ningbo Richin is a Chinese company that conducts business throughout the value chain, from nickel mining to smelting and trading. In particular, it has strength in hydrometallurgy technology that extracts nickel ore by dissolving it in acid and operating Indonesia’s first nickel hydrometallurgy plant for secondary batteries that they established in 2021.
With this agreement, POSCO Holdings and Ningbo Richin plan to build an MHP (Mixed Hydroxide Precipitate)* production plant with an annual nickel content of 120,000 tons in Sulawesi, Indonesia. As a first step, the construction of a production plant with a capacity of 60,000 tons based on nickel content will begin this year and production will begin in 2025.
*MHP (Mixed Hydroxide Precipitate): Intermediate material (nickel content of about 40%) produced through the process of dissolving nickel ore (nickel content of about 1%) in sulfuric acid and removing impurities. Nickel intermediate material is an intermediate raw material to make nickel sulfate, which is a raw material for cathode materials for secondary batteries.
Kyung-seop Lee, Head of the LiB Materials Business Project Team, and Jiang Xin Fang, general manager of Ningbo Richin attended the signing ceremony. “We will be able to further strengthen the competitiveness of the nickel business, which is an important part of POSCO Group’s secondary battery materials business by stably securing cost-competitive Indonesian nickel in cooperation with Ningbo Richin,” emphasized Kyung-seop Lee.
POSCO Holdings plans to establish a global supply chain covering New Caledonia, Australia, and Indonesia through the joint venture with Ningbo Richin for the nickel business in Indonesia, and to further solidify its competitive advantage in the value chain of secondary battery materials by establishing a system for producing and selling 220,000 tons of nickel, 300,000 tons of lithium, 610,000 tons of cathode materials, and 320,000 tons of anode materials by 2030.
Meanwhile, POSCO Holdings, as a representative company of eco-friendly future materials, has selected the nickel business along with lithium as one of the seven core businesses* of the POSCO Group in order to preoccupy the market by establishing the entire value chain of secondary battery materials from raw materials to products, and strengthening competitiveness through continuous investment.
* 7 Core Businesses: ① Steel ② Secondary Battery Materials ③ Lithium/Nickel ④ Hydrogen ⑤ Energy ⑥ Construction/Infrastructure ⑦ Agri-bio
In addition, POSCO Group is working on mining and smelting joint ventures such as Nickel Mining Company (NMC), a raw material corporation in New Caledonia, and SNNC, a domestic smelter, based on New Caledonian nickel resources. It is building a nickel sulfate refining plant for secondary batteries with an annual capacity of 20,000 tons with the aim of completing it in the second half of 2023 in connection with SNNC. In 2021, it also acquired a 30% stake in Ravensthorpe Nickel Operation, an Australian nickel mining and smelting company, to secure Australian nickel resources.