Australian Battery Metal Players Join Hands With South Korea’s EV Manufacturers

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Australia is becoming increasingly important in helping South Korea achieve its ambitious goal of leading the electric vehicle batteries market and diversifying away from China for its battery metals needs.

South Korean EV manufacturers are increasingly looking to Australian miners to secure the necessary supplies of these materials.

The managing director for steel giant POSCO in Australia, Ben Bosung Kim, said, “The company has already invested around A$5 billion ($3.4 billion) in the country, which covers traditional raw materials such as iron ore and coal, and more recently lithium, nickel, graphite and other minerals needed to manufacture electric car batteries.”

South Korea is one of the most aggressive adopters of EVs in the Asia Pacific, intending to have 1 million electrified cars on its roads by 2030. Companies have established long-term agreements with key players in Australia’s battery metal industry to fuel this growth.

Last year, POSCO entered into a joint venture with Pilbara Minerals Ltd to construct a 43,000-tonne lithium hydroxide facility in Gwangyang, South Korea. This is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to better supply the growing demands for battery metals across the region, such as those needed by electric vehicles (EVs).

The deal is expected to provide significant benefits for both parties. Pilbara gains access to downstream processing technology and is a strategic partner in one of the world’s most aggressive EV adopters.

POSCO can secure supplies from Australia, including some of the largest reserves of essential battery metals like cobalt, lithium, and nickel.

Juik Choo, POSCO Executive Vice President and Head of the Hydrogen Business, said, “The company wants to become a global hydrogen provider with the capacity to produce 7 million tonnes by 2050. Part of this plan is to build a large-scale hydrogen production base in Australia that can deliver 1 million tonnes by 2040.”

The Australian Government has responded positively to this joint venture. This ensures that Australia remains an attractive source for foreign investment aimed at exploiting its vast natural resources for crucial battery metals needed by South Korean manufacturers.

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