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S Korean government approves POSCO Chemical use of cathode core technology in overseas plants

POSCO Chemical can now use its cathode manufacturing technology, a national core technology, in its overseas production bases. South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy recently held an Industrial Technology Protection Committee meeting and approved the overseas export of “technology used in designing, manufacturing, and processing cathode with nickel content of over 80%,” a national core technology owned by POSCO Chemical.

The Industrial Technology Protection Committee is a public-private joint organization that convenes to discuss tasks concerning the protection of industrial technologies, such as the designation of national core technologies and the approval of their exports, as well as the approval of overseas M&A (Chairman: Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy).

National core technologies refer to technologies for which the government has stipulated strict security requirements with regards to overseas export due to their high technological and economic value as well as their high growth potential in the industries concerned.

Utilizing these technologies in overseas plants requires approval from the Industrial Technology Protection Committee in accordance with the “Act on Prevention of Divulgence and Protection of Industrial Technology.” The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy has designated and declared 75 technologies across 13 sectors, including semiconductors, electric electronics, and steel, as national core technologies.

The technology involved in manufacturing cathode material with high nickel content is essential in increasing the mileage of electric vehicles. The Industrial Technology Protection Committee approved its export after giving thorough consideration to the level of technology protection of POSCO Chemical and its impact on the battery industry and the national economy.

POSCO Chemical has been actively expanding joint partnerships with global automakers and material companies as well as developing its mass production capacity in its plants in North America, Europe, and China in response to the rapidly growing EV market and the reinforced protectionism of each country.

The approval is anticipated to provide POSCO Chemical with the groundwork necessary for producing high-nickel cathodes, a key material in high-performance EV batteries, at Ultium CAM in Canada and ZPHE in China, two of its overseas cathode production corporations. Not only will the approval help POSCO Chemical position itself ahead of its competitors, but it is also expected to facilitate the company’s entry into other overseas regions, aside from North America and China.

Ultium CAM, a joint corporation formed by POSCO Chemical and GM, has plans to complete the construction of its high-nickel cathode plant with an annual production capacity of 30,000 tons in Québec, Canada by June, 2024, with production expected to begin in early 2025. ZPHE, a joint corporation between POSCO Chemical and Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, a Chinese cobalt manufacturer, is also in the works to increase its cathode production capacity from the current 5,000 tons to 35,000 tons, starting with 20,000 tons in June 2024, and an additional 10,000 tons by June 2025.


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