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Posco Future M seeks more regulatory support

Jan. 29, 2024 - 15:09 By Byun Hye-jin
Posco Future M CEO Kim Jun-hyung (left) and Lim Sang-jun, deputy minister at the Environment Ministry, look around the company’s battery materials plant in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province on Monday (Posco Future M)

Kim Jun-hyung, CEO of Korean battery materials manufacturer Posco Future M, urged the Ministry of Environment to reinforce measures to boost the rechargeable battery industry, according to the company on Monday.

Kim met with Lim Sang-jun, deputy minister at the Environment Ministry, who visited the company’s artificial graphite anode materials manufacturing plant in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, earlier in the day.

Posco Future M shared its achievements in the cathode and anode materials business, as well as the company's investment plan to expand the production capacity of artificial cathode materials from 8,000 metric tons to 18,000 tons this year.

The company called on the ministry to improve infrastructure and ease environmental regulations for local rechargeable battery companies so that they could have a competitive edge in global markets.

Compared to China and other countries, Korea requires companies to carry out heavy investments in environmental facilities, according to the company, which urged the government to streamline the licensing process of such investment projects to strengthen the resilience of local firms.

The company also requested that those who take part in cutting down carbon emissions benefit from the ministry’s Green Policy Financing, which facilitates low-interest loans from banks.

During the business meeting, Kim asked Lim to consider building more public wastewater and industrial water treatment facilities to reduce the environmental impact of rechargeable battery manufacturing plants.

Lim responded that the ministry will seek policy measures to support the industry, such as supplying reusable water within the industry complex and granting green loan financing.

Posco Future M touted that its artificial graphite anode plant uses needle coke processed from iron and steel by-products, allowing the firm to gain momentum after China’s export curbs on graphite.

In October, China, the world’s top graphite producer and exporter, announced it would restrict exports of natural graphite.

Although the country greenlighted exports to Korean battery materials manufacturers like Posco Future M in December, there has been rising demand for battery minerals sourced outside of China due to the “Foreign Entity of Concern” rule under the US’ Inflation Reduction Act.

Electric vehicles eligible for the US’ full $7,500 tax credits should not contain any critical minerals extracted, processed or recycled from FEOC countries from 2025.