South Korean battery materials producer POSCO FUTURE M Company has agreed to set up a joint venture with a subsidiary of Philippine mining and renewable energy company MC Group to produce raw materials for automotive battery cathodes. The Philippines is said to have the world’s second-largest nickel reserves after Indonesia.

Posco Future M, a subsidiary of steel giant Posco Group, signed a memorandum of understanding with Nickel Prime Solutions Inc (NPSI) to jointly build a plant in the Philippines to process mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) to produce high-purity nickel sulphate for electric vehicle (EV) battery cathodes. Nickel helps increase energy storage capacity in battery cathodes.

Posco is positioning itself as a major global supplier of EV battery components and the agreement is the latest move by the company to strengthen its global supply chain. This will be the company’s first overseas plant to produce refined battery ingredients.

Posco confirmed the new joint venture will source nickel ore from an MC Group mine on the Philippine island of Palawan, which has an estimated 40 million tons of nickel reserves. The company confirmed the new factory will use a new processing technology which is said to save costs and halve carbon emissions compared with conventional processes. The technology is currently under co-development by Posco and South Korea’s Research Institute of Industrial Science & Technology (RIST) based in the city of Pohang – where Posco is also headquartered.

Cathodes made by the Philippine joint venture will be eligible for tax incentives under the US Inflation Reduction Act due to the country’s status as a US free trade agreement (FTA) partner.