South Korea Invests in Australia, with a Focus on Battery Metals

Ben Bosung Kim, Managing Director for steel giant POSCO said the company has invested approximately $3.4 billion in Australia – focusing on iron ore and coal, as well as lithium nickel, graphite and other battery metals needed for electric vehicles.

“Australia and Korea are always complementary and interdependent in terms of Australia’s mining and Korea’s manufacturing,” Ben told Reuters at the sidelines of the Australia-Korea Business Council (AKBC) conference in Sydney.

“It was like that in the past in terms of steelmaking, and it will be for the battery materials in the future,” he said.

South Korea is a substantial player in the $46 billion market for electric vehicle battery market. The Asian country and other U.S. allies are shoring up their critical minerals sector. Demand for battery metals continues to increase, as nations aim to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.

POSCO last year entered into a joint venture deal with Pilbara Minerals Ltd (PLS.AX) to build a 43,000 tonne lithium hydroxide chemical facility in Gwangyang, South Korea. The company also purchased a 30% stake in First Quantum Minerals Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia.

Their EVP and Head of Hydrogen Business, Juik Choo, said that they plan to become a global hydrogen provider with capacity to produce 7 million tonnes by 2050. Part of this plan is to build large-scale hydrogen production base in Australia that can deliver 1 million tonnes by 2030.

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