POSCO Holdings has moved up the scheduled investment in the second stage of a lithium production operation infrom next year to now, due to increased demand for lithium amid booming investment in the secondary battery sector resulting from the “Inflation Reduction Act ” in the United States.
The total amount of the investment is about $1.09 billion (about KRW 1.5 trillion), and financing will be conducted by POSCO Argentina and a newly established domestic corporation.
This investment is equal to 25,000t of lithium hydroxide. A factory will be built on a brine lake in Argentina, and the production of lithium carbonate for lithium hydroxide for use in final battery manufacturing will begin in the first half of next year and will be completed in the second half of 2025.
The 25,000t of lithium hydroxide produced is on the scale of 600,000 electronic vehicle units, and it will be supplied to POSCO Chemical and other Korean companies.
POSCO Holdings has a plan to speed up investment in the third and fourth stages for early production of 100,000 tons per year of lithium in Argentina. Engaging in business of brine- and ore-based lithium, waste battery recycling, and so on, POSCO Holdings aims to enter the global top 3 with a production system of 300,000 tons by 2030.
POSCO Group acquired the salt lake in Argentina in advance and the Montgomery & Associates verified that the estimated deposits of lithium at the lake amounts to 13.5 million tons, six-fold the amount that was initially estimated before the acquisition. Considering mining possibility and yield rate, it is expected to produce a minimum of 2.8 million tons.