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Friday, April 19, 2024

SK On signs deal with Colorado-based Westwater Resources to develop anode materials

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SK On signed an agreement with Colorado-based Westwater Resources to co-develop anode materials, the key component in making electric vehicle batteries.

Under the three-year agreement, the two companies will work together to develop high-performance anode materials using Westwater’s graphite, a raw material for making anodes.

SK On will consider sourcing Westwater’s anode materials at its battery manufacturing facilities in the United States. SK On has two plants in Georgia, and three under construction in Kentucky and Tennessee. It recently announced plans for another $5 billion plant in Georgia with Hyundai Motor.

Anodes are a core material in batteries along with cathodes, separators and electrolytes, which handle batteries’ lifespan, energy density and charging speed.

“SK On has been pursuing strategic partnerships to secure high-quality raw materials for batteries to support our growing U.S. manufacturing base,” said Sun Hee-young, vice president in charge of advanced research at SK On. “With this agreement, we will continue to look for options that can strengthen our materials supply chain in North America and ensure we can help meet the increasing demand for electric vehicles in the United States.”

China currently controls 80 percent of the world’s anode production, according to the latest report by the International Energy Agency.

Established in 1977, Westwater Resources is an energy technology company focused on developing natural graphite-based anode materials. Westwater holds mineral rights to explore and potentially mine the Coosa graphite deposit, which spans 42,000 acres in Coosa County, Alabama.

Westwater is currently building a graphite processing plant in Kellyton, Alabama. The first phase of plant construction will produce 7,500 metric tons of refined graphite each year.

BY SARAH CHEA [chea.sarah@joongang.co.kr]