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Umicore to build precursor plant for lithium-ion batteries in South Korea

Umicore today announced the construction of a plant for NMC precursors[1], which are used for the production of Li-ion cathode[2] materials. The new plant will be located on a newly developed industrial site in Cheonan, South Korea, in the vicinity of Umicore's main cathode materials plant, and is expected to be commissioned at the end of 2013, ramping up production in 2014. Once fully operational, this plant will effectively double Umicore's existing production capacity for NMC precursors. The investment is supported by the Korean Ministry of Knowledge and Economy and the local authorities of the Choongchungnam province and Chunahan city, which provided a cash grant.

NMC-based Li-Ion batteries are in high demand today. They are used in a large portion of today's portable electronic equipment and are the main battery technology for the new generation of hybrid and full electric vehicles. Umicore is a leading supplier of cathode materials for Li-ion batteries in all applications, and only recently announced additional capacity increases in Korea. The new investment will be key in order to support this continuous expansion and will complement the existing precursor capacity in Jiangmen, China.

Commenting on the investments Umicore's Senior Vice-President for the Rechargeable Battery Materials business unit, Klaus Ostgathe, said: "The new precursor plant will further support our leading position in cathodes for lithium-ion batteries. Our spread production footprint for cathode materials, with facilities in South Korea, China and Japan - the main Li-ion battery producing countries - is highly appreciated by our customers."

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