Joint Development Agreement aims to produce anode materials tailored for SK On batteries
Deal with U.S. firm shows SK On’s efforts to boost raw battery material supply chain in North America
SEOUL, South Korea, May 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — SK On, a leading electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturer, announced today it has signed a joint development agreement (JDA) with U.S. graphite company Westwater Resources Inc. (NYSE: WWR) as part of efforts to strengthen its battery raw material supply chain in North America following the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
Under the agreement, the two companies will work together to develop environmentally responsible, high-performance anode materials tailored for SK On batteries. Should the project end with successful results, SK On will consider an option of sourcing Westwater’s anode materials for use at its battery manufacturing facilities in the U.S.
SK On currently operates two EV battery plants in Commerce, Georgia. The South Korean battery maker is also building three EV battery plants in the U.S. with Ford Motor Co. BlueOval SK, the joint venture between SK On and Ford, plans to operate two battery plants in Glendale, Kentucky, and one factory in Stanton, Tennessee.
SK On recently agreed with Hyundai Motor Group to establish an EV battery plant in Bartow County, Georgia, through a joint venture.
Established in 1977, Westwater Resources is an energy technology company focused on developing U.S.-based battery-grade natural graphite anode materials. Headquartered in Centennial, Colorado, the company holds mineral rights to explore and potentially mine the Coosa Graphite Deposit that is located across 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.
Anode is one of the four main components for lithium-ion batteries along with cathode, electrolyte and separator. It determines the battery life and charging speed. Currently, graphite is the dominating anode material in commercial lithium-ion batteries.
The latest U.S. partnership with Westwater paves the way for sourcing anode materials in North America in the future as part of SK On’s efforts to diversify its supply chain with the goal of taking advantage of provisions with the IRA.
“SK On has been pursuing strategic partnerships to secure high-quality battery raw materials to support our growing U.S. manufacturing base,” said Sun Heeyoung, SK On Vice President in charge of advanced research. “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 U.S.”
“The JDA with SK On is another major advancement in Westwater’s graphite business, and we are extremely excited to partner with a leading global battery manufacturer,” said Terence Cryan, Westwater’s Executive Chairman. “Following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, many battery manufacturers have sought to secure North American anode material from our Kellyton plant.”
About SK On
SK On is a global leading electric vehicle (EV) battery developer, manufacturer, and solutions provider whose mission is to make our world a cleaner and more convenient place as an electrification linchpin.
SK On was launched as an independent company in October 2021 after SK Innovation, South Korea’s largest energy company, decided to split off its battery business unit. SK On aims to become a world leader in the clean energy industry by leveraging its global production base and R&D capabilities, as well as its production and quality management know-how.
Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, SK On has a worldwide presence with battery plants currently operating or in construction across the United States, Europe, and Asia.
For more information, please visit: http://eng.sk-on.com/
About Westwater Resources, Inc.
Westwater Resources is an energy technology company that is focused on developing battery-grade natural graphite. Westwater Resources’ primary project is the Kellyton Graphite Processing Plant that is under construction in east-central Alabama. In addition, Westwater Resource’s Coosa Graphite Deposit is the most advanced natural flake graphite deposit in the contiguous United States — and is located across 41,965 acres (~17,000 hectares) in Coosa County, Alabama. For more information, visit: http://westwaterresources.net.
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SOURCE SK On