POSCO begins construction of S Korea’s first lithium hydroxide plant

POSCO Holdings recently began construction at the Yulchon 1st Industrial Complex in Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla Province, S. Korea) of the country’s first lithium hydroxide plant, which will produce secondary battery materials using lithium produced from brine in Argentina.

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.” States POSCO Group CEO Jeong-woo Choi

The new lithium factory is anticipated to have an annual production capacity of 25,000 tons of lithium hydroxide—sufficient for manufacturing approximately 600,000 electric vehicles. The total investment for the project is estimated at KRW 575 billion (US$443 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. (Earlier post.) 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 in South Korea.

In 2018, POSCO Holdings acquired a package of tenements from Galaxy Resources in the Salar de Hombre Muerto in Argentina in order to secure lithium preemptively. POSCO is currently working on the 25,000-ton scale of the initial phase of lithium-from-brine plant in Argentina.

POSCO developed its own extraction technology for lithium in 2010. A pilot plant was manufactured in South Korea in 2017 with a capacity of 2,500 tons / year of lithium; this was then brought to and installed in Argentina.


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