South Korean chemical company LG Chem will build a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode materials plant in Morocco in partnership with China’s Huayou Group, Kallanish reports.

The 50,000 tonnes/year LFP CAM plant is planned to enter operations in 2026, marking LG Chem’s entry into the LFP CAM business. Production, targeted at the North American market, would be enough to power 500,000 entry-level EVs per year, the company says. The estimate is based on a 50-kilowatt-hour battery pack, delivering a range of 350 kilometres.  

The project will take advantage of Morocco’s global leading reserves of phosphorous, as well as its free trade partner status with the US, granting the project rights to the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) incentives. It includes a 52,000 t/y plant to convert lithium concentrate into lithium chemicals, providing feedstock for the cathode plant. The facility, also in Morocco, should be operational in 2025.

“LFP cathode materials produced at the Morocco plant will be subsidised by the US Inflation Reduction Act,” says LG Chem. The company and Huayou’s subsidiary Youshan will adjust their share in compliance with the regulations of the Foreign Entity of Concern (FEOC) regulations of the IRA, although details weren’t provided.

Additionally, under an MOU announced by LG Chem over the weekend, the parties will also jointly develop a nickel processing plant and a precursor plant in Indonesia. The latter is expected to have a 50,000 t/y capacity.

They might also consider a plant to extract mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) from nickel ore for precursor production, as they move to create a vertically integrated cathode materials supply chain in Indonesia.

“We will actively respond to the emerging LFP cathode material market with the Morocco plant as our global base,” adds LG Chem ceo Shin Hak-cheol. “Our goal is to create a strong, vertically integrated material supply chain — flowing from raw materials to precursors and cathode materials — and solidify our status as the world’s top comprehensive battery materials producer.”