South Korean battery maker LG Chem has announced that it had signed offtake agreements with American miner Piedmont Lithium for a total of 200,000 metric tons of spodumene concentrate (SC6). SC6 is a high-purity material that processes lithium ore, which can extract lithium hydroxide used as material for batteries.
With the agreement in place, Piedmont will be supplying LG Chem with 50,000 metric tons per year of SC6 from a Canadian mine over a four-year term, starting in the third quarter of 2023. LG Chem is expected to extract about 30,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide, which should be enough material for about 500,000 high-performance electric cars.
Piedmont holds a 25% ownership stake in the North American Lithium (NAL) mine located in Quebec. It should be noted that NAL is the only lithium mine in North America that’s capable of commercial production this year. Lithium mined in the region is expected to be used to produce cathode materials for North American customers, as noted by LG Chem in a press release.
With the utilization of materials from the North American Lithium mine, LG Chem is expected to comply with the requirements of the US’ Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). LG has also signed an agreement with Piedmont for an equity investment of $75 million, which should result in the South Korean battery maker holding a 6% stake in the miner. LG Chem secured priority negotiation rights to purchase 10,000 tons of lithium hydroxide produced annually by Piedmont in the United States as well.
Piedmont CEO Keith Phillips expressed his optimism about the deal. “We are pleased to partner with LG Chem to supply lithium resources produced in North America. As LG Chem has a strong commitment to US electric vehicle battery manufacturing, Piedmont looks forward to discussing additional potential cooperation with LG Chem in North America,” Phillips noted.
LG Chem CEO Hak Cheol Shin highlighted how the deal would help the company satisfy the IRA’s standards. “This agreement allows LG Chem to provide differentiated values to North American customers with products that satisfy IRA standards by preemptively securing raw materials in the US, our key market,” adding that “We will lead the battery material market by building various partnerships, including joint metal investments with automotive OEMs and battery makers,” the CEO said.
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