LG Energy Solution says Australian Mines deal gives it 'upper hand' in battery materials scramble

by John Shepherd
LES said the Australian Mines deal is needed to gain the 'upper hand' amid international competition among battery manufacturers for raw materials. Images: LES/AM
Korean batteries manufacturer LG Energy Solution (LES) has agreed a "100% rights” deal for nickel and cobalt from a mining development in Australia, to gain the "upper hand” over rivals competing for key battery materials to power electric vehicles.

LES said the initial binding, long-term offtake agreement with Australian Mines (AM), would give it access to 71,000 dry tonnes of nickel and 7,000 dry tonnes of cobalt over a six-year period from the end of 2024 – amid "fierce international competition” for EV battery raw materials.

AM said the agreement, which could be extended by another five years, would account for 100% of the projected future production of its Sconi Project, in North Queensland.

Stockpile plans

However, the deal is conditional on AM securing construction financing for the Sconi project by the end of June 2022.

Battery-grade nickel and cobalt from Sconi would be supplied to LES in the form of mixed hydroxide precipitate.

LES’ deal announcement came just days after South Korea’s government unveiled plans to ramp up national stockpiles of critical metals for battery manufacturing and renewable power generation, amid concerns of increasing international pressure on raw material supplies.


Earlier this year, LES invested KRW 12bn (£7.4m) in Australia’s Queensland Pacific Metals for 7,000 tonnes of nickel and 700 tonnes of cobalt to be supplied annually, for 10 years, starting in late 2023.

LES has also invested KRW 57.5bn for a five-year supply of copper foil from the European subsidiary of Solus Advanced Materials, starting from this year.

And World Battery News reported last month that the battery firm had agreed a lithium hydroxide offtake deal from Infinity Lithium’s planned mine in Spain.

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