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LG secures cobalt supply for batteries

That sweet, sweet cobalt

LG Chem has forged two join ventures in order to secure access to the cobalt needed for its batteries

South Korea’s LG Chem aims to strengthen its access to vital cobalt with two new joint ventures with China’s Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt.

The deal will help LG secure supplies for its Li-ion batteries.

Huayou Cobalt delivered 20,000 tonnes of refined cobalt in 2017, making it the world’s largest supplier of the metal.

One joint venture will produce precursor materials, while the other will produce material to be used in the cathodes of LG’s batteries. A total of 239.4 billion won (US$224 million) will be invested in the two ventures by 2020.

From 2020, the two joint ventures will start off by producing 40,000 tonnes per year of the two materials, enough for LG to make 400,000 battery packs for electric vehicles, each with a range of 320 km (200 miles).

LG aims to ramp up production to 100,000 tonnes of material in the future.

The material will be used in LG’s battery plants in China and Poland.

With electric vehicles and batteries heating up, gaining access to the necessary raw materials is a major struggle for all players in the nascent industry. This is just the latest step from LG Chem, which has spent the last few years securing supplies for a number of vital materials, including nickel sulphate, for its batteries.

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