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POSCO : Bolivia lithium battery business picks up pace

POSCO/KORES/COMIBOL sign Heads of Agreement to establish joint venture

POSCO together with KORES (Korea Resources Corporation) signed a Heads of Agreement for the establishment of a joint venture with the state-run COMIBOL to carry out a lithium battery business in Bolivia`s administrative capital La Paz.

At the signing ceremony, Minister Mario Ippore of the Bolivia Ministry of Mining and Metallurgy, COMIBOL President Hector Heguivar, Chief Louis Alberto Echazu of the Evaporation resources board, National Assembly member Lee Sangdeuk, POSCO President Kwon Ohjun, KORES President Kim Shinjong, and other government and corporate personnel attended.
POSCO plans on jointly participating in the lithium battery with KORES-COMIBOL, and establish a joint venture within the first half of this year.

COMIBOL will provide materials and raw materials for lithium batteries including lithium, nickel, and manganese, while POSCO and KORES agreed to support related manufacturing technology.

The joint venture will target manufacturing in the first half of 2014, carried out in two stages. The first stage is scheduled from April this year to the end of next year with the goal of completing joint technology development and pilot plant construction, selecting the most optimal carbon lithium manufacturing technology and start full product production in the first half of 2014.

Bolivia has recognized Korea as a strategic partner in the lithium battery business, and expects POSCO and Korean companies to greatly help Bolivia enter the lithium material and battery industry and secure future lithium resources.

Lithium is the lightest element of all metals with the highest ability to create voltage, and is currently used as core materials in batteries for most mobile devices. Its importance is growing with prospects on an era of electric vehicles. According to domestic and foreign analysis data, with electric car supply, annual lithium consumption will increase approximately 20 times of today by the year 2050.

Bolivia is the largest lithium reserve with almost half of the world`s lithium resources, where approximately 5.4 million tons are estimated to be buried under the Uyuni salt lake, 400km southwest of La Paz.

POSCO is proactively seeking various materials businesses with growth potential alongside investing companies to become a global comprehensive materials company.


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