South Korean battery maker Samsung SDI is part of an international consortium cleared to invest in developing battery materials facilities in Chile.
Samsung is among companies from South Korea and China expected to invest a total $754 million in the project, the Chilean Economic Development Agency (Corfo) confirmed.
The other companies, all selected after a bidding process, include Chilean molybdenum processor Molymet, China’s Sichuan Fulin Industrial Group and South Korean steel-maker POSCO.
Corfo said the companies would be ready to produce battery materials within two years. The facilities will reportedly be located in northern Chile.
Corfo said Fulin is expected to produce 20,000 tons annually of lithium, iron and phosphate, while Posco, Samsung SDI and Molymet “will each produce about 19,000 tons of cathode material with various production lines ranging from NMC (nickel manganese cobalt oxide) NCA (lithium nickel cobalt aluminium oxide (lithium, nickel, cobalt and aluminium oxide) to NMO (lithium manganese oxide)”.
Corfo CEO Eduardo Bitran (pictured) said the projects are “fundamental” to the battery industry and to investment in Chile. He said the project would allow the country to “increase the added value of lithium between three and four times”.
Last month, Corfo told BBB Tesla was considering proposals to invest in lithium production in Chile— and that the carmaker could also support the launch of a battery cathodes production facility in the country.
According to Corfo, Bitran met Tesla bosses in the US recently to discuss a potential initial investment in Chilean lithium producer Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile.