SK Group's infrastructure investment arm SK Ecoplant will enter the European battery recycling market with CNGR, the world's largest precursor manufacturer. The companies has signed an agreement on the supply of recycled materials and cooperation in recycling in Europe.
The Chinese precursor producer CNGR is building precursor and cathode material plants in the Kymenlaakso area in Finland in a joint venture with Finnish Mineral Group. The precursor plant will only be the second precursor plant in Europe after Umicore's plant in Kokkola, also in Finland. The plan has from the beginning been to add recycling capabilities to be able to feed recycled materials to the precursor production and in November 2022 the company signed an invested in South Korean recycler Sungeel Hitech and signed an MOU about cooperation in Europe.
SK Ecoplant has been very active in the battery recycling field with recent investments in US-based Ascend Elements and Singapore-based TES, both with current and planned activities in Europe.
The now announced agreement is a technology and business agreement which most likely will involve the establishment of a joint recycling operation through which CNGR can feed recycled materials to its precursor production and SK Ecoplant can leverage its European investments and potentially its relationship with SK On which operates two battery plants in Hungary.
The agreement is another example of how Chinese and South Korean players leverage its dominance in production to also take a strong position in recycling in Europe.