The legal dispute between the City of Dangjin and Ram Technology over the company’s planned hydrogen fluoride factory has started this month.
The company had filed an administrative lawsuit against the city after it refused Ram Technology’s plan to build a factory at Dangjin back in August 2021.
Hydrogen fluoride is used to clean wafers during chip production. Localizing their production has been a key policy in South Korea since Japan imposed trade restrictions on the material back in 2019.
Ram Technology already had a factory at Geumsan near Dangjin that could manufacture 800 metric tonnes of the material per month.
It had planned to build another one at Dangjin and bought lands in the city in 2019 with plans to build a factory that would have gone live in 2022.
The factory was planned to have six times the production capacity of the one at Geumsan.
But the Dangjin government refused to give a permit citing possible leaks of chemicals. Ram Technology claims its factory was designed with safety measures to prevent such accidents.
However, things have changed this year as Dangjin’s newly elected Mayor Oh Seong-hwan, who took office in July, has shown to be pro-business.
In October this year, he said that the city has won 265 billion won in investment from companies since he became mayor.
Sources said Oh was leaning towards allowing Ram Technology’s factory and the lawsuit between the city and the company will likely be settled.
Ram Technology last year claimed it has developed ultra-high purity hydrogen fluoride. Those with 99.9999% purity, or 6N, are required for use in wafer fabrication.
Japanese companies manufacture them at 12N, even purer than 6N, which are used by chipmakers worldwide. Ram Technology claims that it can manufacture 12N hydrogen fluoride as well and had filed related patents.
Morita and Stella Chemifa dominated the market __ South Korean companies ENF and Soulbrain are collaborating with them, respectively, to manufacture hydrogen fluoride in South Korea.