SKC and Toyota Tsusho Form Joint Venture to Produce Battery-Grade Copper Foil in North America

SKC and Toyota Tsusho Form Joint Venture to Produce Battery-Grade Copper Foil in North America

SKC Co. has announced a strategic partnership with Japan’s Toyota Tsusho Corp. to establish a joint venture that will produce and supply battery-grade copper foil in North America, targeting the rapidly growing electric vehicle (EV) market.

Under the memorandum of understanding, SK Nexilis Co., SKC’s subsidiary specializing in copper foil production, will join forces with Toyota Tsusho to co-invest in building a manufacturing facility. The joint venture will also collaborate on securing long-term supply agreements with potential customers in the region. Specific details of the partnership have not been disclosed yet.

Copper foil is a vital component used in lithium-ion battery cells for electric vehicles. SK Nexilis boasts advanced technology that enables it to produce the world’s thinnest copper foil, which is about one-thirtieth the thickness of a human hair, and the widest at 1.4 meters, with lengths of up to 77 kilometers.

This collaboration with Toyota Tsusho will play a crucial role in accelerating SK Nexilis’ global expansion in the battery materials business. Currently, SK Nexilis is constructing a factory in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, with plans for commercial operation later this year. Additionally, another plant is under development in Stalowa Wola, Poland, with completion expected by the next year. SK Nexilis aims to ramp up its copper foil production capacity to 250,000 tons annually.

In addition to the joint venture’s focus on copper foil, the two companies will also cooperate in sourcing critical minerals for secondary batteries. Toyota Tsusho brings expertise in dealing with key minerals and has established business deals related to the supply of lithium in Argentina.

SKC, a subsidiary of the SK Group, is transforming into an advanced materials company, with an emphasis on copper foil and other advanced components like semiconductor packaging. Earlier this month, SKC announced its plan to invest up to 6 trillion won (approximately US$4.72 billion) in battery and semiconductor components, as well as other green materials sectors, aiming to generate 11.4 trillion won in revenue by 2027.

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