Hon Bill Johnston MLA

Hon Bill Johnston MLA

Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy; Corrective Services; Industrial Relations

    South Korean investment powers up WA’s battery industry

    21/05/2021 2:10 PM
    • McGowan Government welcomes POSCO's decision to purchase a 30 per cent stake in First Quantum Minerals' Ravensthorpe nickel mine
    • POSCO is the world's fourth largest steel producer and a leading integrated producer of cathode and anode materials for the electric vehicle battery sector

    The McGowan Government welcomes South Korean company POSCO's decision to invest $US240 million in a 30 per cent stake in First Quantum Minerals' Ravensthorpe nickel mine.


    First Quantum Minerals will retain a 70 per cent interest and continue as operator.


    POSCO's long-term offtake agreement for 7,500 tonnes of nickel in mixed nickel-cobalt hydroxide precipitate per year from Ravensthorpe, starting in 2024, will help underpin its secondary battery material business.


    The companies have also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to explore producing materials, such as nickel sulphate, which is used to manufacture cathodes in lithium-ion batteries.


    This decision builds on POSCO's existing investments in Western Australia's battery minerals industry including its offtake with Pilbara Minerals' Pilgangoora project.


    It is expected that global demand for lithium-ion batteries will increase tenfold by 2030, primarily driven by uptake in electric vehicles.


    Western Australian and international companies are progressing plans to further process lithium and nickel locally to produce lithium hydroxide and nickel sulphate.


    The Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation is engaging with global precursor manufacturers in key markets on this potential investment opportunity.


    Comments attributed to Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston:


    "Congratulations to First Quantum Minerals and POSCO on the announcement of their offtake agreement and strategic partnership.


    "Proactively engaging with global producers of battery minerals and materials is a priority for the McGowan Government and a key component of our Future Battery Industry Strategy.


    "We are committed to growing WA into a world-leading exporter of battery minerals, materials and technologies.


    "Our focus right now is attracting investment in the next step of the battery value chain - pre‑cursor cathode manufacturing."


    Minister's office - 6552 6700