LG Chem's LG Energy Solution announced a new 6-year agreement with Australian Mines Ltd. for battery-grade nickel and cobalt, which will be supplied in the form of mixed hydroxide precipitate (MPH) from the Sconi Project in North Queensland.
The South Korean manufacturer will purchase 71,000 tonnes of nickel and 7,000 tonnes of cobalt for 6 years starting from the end of 2024
"Under the binding long form offtake agreement between LG Energy Solution and Australian Mines Ltd, the battery manufacturer will have access to 71,000 tonnes of nickel and 7,000 tonnes of cobalt for 6 years starting from the end of 2024."
The proportions between the two key battery material are 10:1, which suggests battery chemistries with less than 10% of cobalt in the cathode. That might be NCM811 or NCMA.
According to the company, such an amount of nickel and cobalt is enough for 1.3 million battery-electric vehicles with 500 km (311 miles) of range. Assuming 80-100 kWh battery packs, that would be 104-130 GWh of batteries.
"The six-year supply deal would translate to producing batteries that can power 1.3 million high-performance electric vehicles, with driving range surpassing 500 kilometers on a single charge."
If we compare both numbers, we will also see that on average, a single battery pack would require 55 kg of nickel and 5.4 kg of cobalt.
Assuming 80-100 kWh battery packs, per 1 kWh it would be then 0.55-0.69 kg of nickel and 0.054-0.067 kg of cobalt.
Of course, it's just a very brief comparison as the supply agreement is not directly related to a particular chemistry, especially since it will be used later this decade.
LG Energy Solution explains also that the mining procedure will be environmentally friendly:
"During the mining procedure, Australian Mines Ltd. will be using the dry stacking method, known as a sustainable method used to store filtered tailings. Although more costly, compared to the conventional method due to construction and maintenance expenses, the dry stacking method is deemed an environmentally friendly way to extract raw materials.
The dry stacking method eliminates the use of storage ponds and dams associated with conventional tailings facilities, which is an eco-friendly method used to store filtered tailings. This method avoids the possibility of dam failure and long-term storage issues."
Other LG Energy Solution supply investments include:
"The company has invested KRW 12 billion to Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) in June for 7,000 tonnes of nickel and 700 tonnes of cobalt per year for a decade starting late 2023.
Previously LGES has also announced its investment of KRW 57.5 billion in European subsidiary of Solus Advanced Materials in December for copper foil for 5 years from 2021."