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Battery materials

POSCO acquires stake in Tanzania graphite mine to boost battery materials biz 

By Jan 18, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

POSCO acquires stake in Tanzania graphite mine to boost battery materials biz 


South Korea’s largest steelmaker POSCO's commitment to innovation and growth has been well demonstrated this year, as it wraps up acquisition of a stake in a Tanzania-based graphite mine and last week participated in the world’s largest tech exposition CES 2021, the latter a rare move for the steelmaker. 

POSCO announced on Jan. 18 that it acquired a 15% stake, valued at around $7.5 million, in Black Rock Mining, an Australia-based mining company that owns the Mahenge graphite mine in Tanzania, Africa. Graphite is an essential anode material used in making electric vehicle batteries.

Through the deal, POSCO will gain permanent purchasing rights for graphite produced from the Mahenge mine, in addition to securing the right to nominate a member to serve on the board of Black Rock Mining.

The Mahenge mine has around 83 million tons of graphite reserves, which will be produced in the second half of 2022 after development begins in the first half of this year. POSCO plans to bring in 35,000 tons of graphite annually from the mine.

“We’ve been reviewing investments for overseas raw materials to beef up our EV battery materials business,” said a POSCO official. “We’re looking into securing graphite mines in Africa and Australia to set up a value chain,” the official explained.

Last year, POSCO unveiled its goal of becoming the world’s top player in the global EV battery materials market by 2030 by establishing a value chain from raw material procurement to the production of battery materials.

The company's secondary battery materials business is led by affiliate POSCO Chemical Co., which has raised money for additional investments through a near-1.3 trillion won ($1.1 billion) rights offering last week.

POSCO Chem plans to use the proceeds to expand its mass production capacity for anodes and cathodes, key materials used to make EV batteries. The company aims to produce 400,000 tons of anodes and 260,000 tons of cathodes by 2030.

“We are developing our secondary battery materials business to become a global, top-tier operation via a strengthened value chain,” said POSCO Chief Executive Choi Jeong-woo.

Choi identified innovation and growth as the most important areas for the company amid a shift in industrial megatrends.

Meanwhile, POSCO affiliate POSCO ICT drew much attention for appearing at CES 2021, showcasing several smart solutions based on artificial intelligence, big data and the Internet of things.

POSCO ICT has been working on fusing IT with manufacturing, such as by developing VoRIS, an integrated voice recognition solution that converts voice to text using AI technology. The company also exhibited PosMaster, an industrial PC-based smart controller system.


Write to Man-su Choe at bepop@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.
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