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POSCO Starts High-purity Nickel Production for Secondary Batteries

2021/08/19

l New high purity nickel factory in Gwangyang to produce 20 thousand tons per year to secure supply for cathode materials necessary for the high-capacity batteries, capable for 500 thousand electric Motor Vehicles
l The iron removal process in the SNNC factory, one of the subsidiaries of POSCO, supports the high purity nickel production of POSCO
l The plan of the value chain, production from raw material – lithium, graphite, and nickel matte – to secondary batteries to secure material by itself to produce 100 thousand tons of nickel by 2030

POSCO starts on high-purity nickel production required for secondary batteries.

The investment from POSCO in the facilities of SNNC transforms it into a high purity nickel refining factory and plans to produce 20 thousand tons (only nickel contents) per year by 2023.

The company’s plan of producing high purity nickel is to manufacture and sell 99.9% purity nickel materials made from 75% purity nickel mattes* through its wet refining process. According to its value chain, SNNC, one of POSCO subsidiaries also a ferronickel refining factory for the STS (stainless steel), will produce nickel mattes adopted by the iron removal* process that POSCO invested in. After that, those materials will supply to POSCO for high purity nickel production. The total investment was known as 230 billion Korean Won, and the factory will be in Dongho-bay where is having Gwangyang steelworks, also close to SNNC. The 20 thousand tons of materials from the factory are well enough to be used in 500 thousand electric motor vehicles.
*nickel matte : It is an intermediate product from nickel with 70~75% of nickel in it.
*Iron removal process : It is the process of increasing nickel purity up to 70~75% from 20% by removing iron from ferronickel.

As reported by the global market research institute, ‘WoodMac’, electric motor vehicles have been produced 3 million by last year, and the market will record a sharp growth rate with more than 32 million vehicles by 2030. Therefore, the demand for high purity nickel, as one of the necessary materials for the cathode materials used in high-capacity batteries, will be increased average 23% yearly and expected the lack of supply after 2025.

In response to the situation, POSCO set its plan to be more competitive by having the value chain for secondary batteries with the production of high purity nickel materials in advance and make sales to POSCO Chemical Co and others.

Not only that, last May, the manufacturer successfully took over 30% stock from the Australian company Ravensthorpe that specialized in the nickel mining industry and refining production, while it has invested in a new production facility that assists them to achieve supply of nickel 100 thousand tons for itself.

Additionally, as the only company in the globe that has built a value chain that supplies lithium, nickel, and graphite for itself to produces materials for anode and cathode. It has a plan to accomplish yearly sales of 23 trillion Korean Won and 20% of global market share on a secondary battery field till 2030, with supplying 220 thousand tons of lithium and 100 thousand tons of nickel and producing 400 thousand tons of cathode materials and 260 thousand tons of anode materials.

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