The Korean zinc smelter Young Poong has commissioned its new 2,000 tpa pre-processing plant for in Bonghwa-gun, in the North Gyeongsang province in South Korea. The smelting process can take full battery volumes and smaller packs and process, separate the lithium and produce an alloy which can further processed trough a hydro metallurgical process. This process will be installed during the first half of 2023.
The company, which is a sister company to Korea Zinc through which it has co-invested in the battery material company Kemco, claims that the recovery rate of lithium exceeds 90% which makes the method competitive also for LFP batteries.
The plan is to expand capacity in 2024 to a commercial scale of 20,000 tonnes of waste batteries per year.
Kemco, the material company, signed in June 2022 an agreement with LG Chem to establish a joint venture with the aim to produce precursor material from battery waste in South Korea. The production capacity was said to be aimed at 20,000 tonnes of NCMA precursor per annum with an investment of more than 200 KRW (153 MUSD) and an anticipated production start in Q2 2024. The plant will be located in the Onsan Industrial Complex in Ulsan and will supply the LG Chem Cheongju Cathode Materials Plant.