Posco Group said Thursday its salt lake in Argentina contains 13.5 million metric tons of lithium reserves, more than six times greater than initial calculation of 2.2 million tons. Based on the massive reserves, which are enough for 370 million electric vehicles, the group aims to establish a robust value chain of EV battery raw materials.
According to the South Korean steel giant, the latest exploration of the Hombre Muerto salt lake in northern Argentina conducted with a US consulting firm Montgomery & Associates on Nov. 30 showed that the site contains 921 milligrams of lithium per liter, much greater than expected.
The lithium jackpot in Argentina is expected to give a boost to Posco’s plan to source its own raw materials for EV battery components.
Posco Chemical, an affiliate of Posco Group, currently manufactures cathodes and anodes, which are two key components of lithium-ion batteries along with electrolytes and separators. Cathodes, which contain nickel, determine a battery’s energy capacity. Anodes, which are made of graphite, decide a battery’s stability.
By 2030, Posco aims to independently source 220,000 tons of lithium and 100,000 tons of nickel to manufacture 400,000 tons of cathode. Using its knowledge from the steel business, Posco aims to produce high-purity nickel. Also, Posco plans to secure graphite mines in Australia and Africa to reduce its dependence on China below 50 percent and make 260,000 tons of anodes by 2030.
“Posco is the only company in the world equipped with a complete supply chain that can source materials for EV batteries from raw materials such as lithium, nickel and graphite to components such as cathodes and anodes,” Posco Chairman Choi Jung-woo said.
Posco aims to control 20 percent of global EV battery material and achieve an annual revenue of 23 trillion won ($20.9 billion) by 2030.
By Kim Byung-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org