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EcoPro to set up joint venture with SK On, Ford in Canada

By Byun Hye-jin

Published : Aug. 23, 2023 - 15:05

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EcoPro’s industrial complex in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province (EcoPro) EcoPro’s industrial complex in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province (EcoPro)

South Korean battery materials company EcoPro said Wednesday it is poised to set up a joint venture for a battery cathode materials manufacturing plant with SK On and Ford Motor Company in Quebec, Canada.

Of the 1.2 trillion won ($897.3 million) investment, the joint venture, called EcoPro Cam Canada LP, plans to provide 600 billion won, while the Canadian government and Quebec will cover the other half in subsidies.

EcoPro said the company will hold the largest stake in the joint venture compared to SK On and Ford in financing the construction and operation of the production facility.

Scheduled to complete construction by 2026, the annual production capacity of the cathode materials plant is projected to be 45,000 tons. SK On will produce battery cells using the materials and supply them to Ford electric vehicles.

With this new production plant in Canada and its two other key bases in Europe and Korea, the battery materials manufacturer touted that it expects to hit yearly production of 700,000 tons by 2027.

“The company’s first North American project in Canada is unique compared to our other production bases because it works in partnership with a carmaker and a battery cell manufacturer in building a global EV battery value chain,” said an official from EcoPro.

Last month, the battery materials manufacturer pledged to set up an industrial complex for manufacturing battery materials in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province. It will inject 2 trillion won over the next five years into creating an ecosystem for developing cathodes, battery precursors, other materials for rechargeable batteries and a recycling system for used batteries.

The company said it recently purchased a 694,000-square-meter site in the city of Pohang. The production facility is set to be operational by next year. After adding the Pohang plant, EcoPro’s production capacity in Korea is expected to be more than 270,000 tons a year.

EcoPro also plans to build another production facility in Debrecen, Hungary, with commercial operations set to start from 2025. Under a 1.3 trillion won investment, the facility’s annual production capacity will be 108,000 tons, enough to supply cathode materials for batteries to 1.35 million EVs.