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Battery materials

Korea’s SKC to build $761 mn copper foil plant in Poland

To start construction of factory with annual capacity of 50,000 tons in H1 2022; plans a US plant

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

SKC’s battery copper foil-making subsidiary SK Nexilis plant in South Korea
SKC’s battery copper foil-making subsidiary SK Nexilis plant in South Korea

South Korea’s SKC Co. decided to build a copper foil factory for $761 million in Poland, its first European plant to produce the core electric vehicle battery material,  in a move to expand its market presence in the region.

SKC and its battery copper foil-making subsidiary SK Nexilis Co. on Nov. 18 signed an investment deal with the Polish authorities to set up the production facility in the government-led industrial complex in the southeastern city of Stalowa Wola, according to SKC.

The chemical materials maker of the country’s No. 3 conglomerate SK Group plans to spend 900 billion won ($761.1 million) for the factory with an annual capacity of 50,000 tons of copper foil. The company is scheduled to start the construction in the first half of 2022 with a target of commercial operations to begin from 2024.

The industrial complex is relatively close to global secondary battery producers, about five to eight hours away by car, SKC said. LG Energy Solution Ltd. operates a factory in Poland, while SK Innovation Co. and Samsung SDI Co. have plants in neighboring Hungary.

In July, SKC started construction of its first overseas copper foil plant with a capacity of 50,000 tons a year in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. It also plans to build a similar plant in the US, increasing its total copper foil output to 250,000 tons by 2025.

SK Nexilis’ main product is copper foil with a thickness of 4 micrometers. The thinner copper foil a company produces, the more competitive its products are, since thinner copper foil, which can apply more active materials, allows higher-capacity battery production. An EV usually needs about 30kg of copper foil.

“To meet growing copper foil demand, we plan to bring forward commercial operations of local plants and rapidly expand overseas capacity,” said SKC CEO Lee Wan-jae.

Write to Kyung-Min Kang at kkm1026@hankyung.com

Jongwoo Cheon edited this article.

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