South Korean cathode maker EcoPro BM said on Wednesday that it has signed a contract with China’s GEM to procure precursors for high-nickel cathodes.
EcoPro BM will import precursors used in the production of NCA (nickel, cobalt and aluminum) and NCM (nickel, cobalt and manganese) cathodes from its Chinese partner.
GEM will supply 176,000 metric tonnes of them to the South Korean firm by 2023.
The Chinese firm said it aims to sell around 400,000 metric tonnes of ternary precursors a year by 2025. The precursors that it is selling to EcoPro BM was made using its latest design, the company said.
GEM recently started the production of its precursor NCA 9 Series. This product only has 4.7% cobalt in them. The company recently said it was verifying its new Ni98 precursor, which only has 1% cobalt, in preparation of production.
For NCM, the company is preparing a product with only 0.45% cobalt.
The company is currently manufacturing Ni92 precursors, which is the same kind of precursor that SK Innovation has said it plans to use for its electric car batteries. The precursor is used to produce NCM9½½ (nickel, cobalt and manganese in 9 to 0.5 to 0.5 ratio) cathode. SK Innovation is currently procuring cathode from EcoPro BM.
EcoPro BM and GEM has a joint venture called EcoPro GEM in South Korea, which also manufacturers precursors.
The South Korean cathode maker also has a joint venture with Samsung SDI called EcoPro EM, which produces cathode. The venture is currently building a factory at Pohang.