SEOUL, March 11 (Reuters) - A consortium led by South Korea’s POSCO and Samsung SDI will build a cathode plant in Chile by 2021 for the country’s lithium batteries project, POSCO said in a statement on Sunday.
POSCO said the steel maker and battery maker Samsung SDI will jointly invest 57.5 billion won ($54.02 million) for the plant to be constructed in Mejillones, a Chilean port city.
The plant will produce 3,200 tonnes of cathode a year starting the second half of 2021, which will be used to make lithium batteries for electric vehicles.
Beating 12 other companies, the joint consortium also includes China’s Sichuan Fulin Industrial Group and Chile’s Molyment.
The cathode market is growing fast due to increasing global demand for lithium ion batteries that are used for electric vehicles. By 2021, the cathode market is expected to expand four times to 860,000 tonnes by 2020 from 210,000 tonnes in 2016.
POSCO said on Feb. 27 that it had agreed to buy up to 240,000 tonnes of lithium concentrate per year from Australian miner Pilbara Minerals to secure a stable source of raw materials to manufacture electric vehicle batteries. ($1 = 1,064.3800 won) (Reporting by Yuna Park Editing by Michael Perry)