The plant in Montgomery County will offer 60,000-ton annual production capacity and is expected to be the largest cathode material facility in the U.S.

SEOUL, South Korea—LG Chem has begun construction of a cathode plant in the United States, intending to establish a production hub for the global battery material market. The facility, located in Montgomery County, Clarksville, Tennessee, will locally produce cathode materials optimized for North American electric vehicles (EVs) and collaborate with key partners from development to supply chain, the company said in a release.

LG Chem recently held a groundbreaking ceremony attended by guests that included Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Commissioner Stuart McWhorter, Senator Marsha Blackburn, Korean Ambassador to the United States Cho Hyun-dong, Clarksville City Mayor Joe Pitts, and Montgomery County Mayor Wes Golden. Key attendees from LG Chem were CEO Shin Hak-cheol; Advanced Materials Company President Nam Chul; and Head of Battery Materials Business Unit Lee Hyang-mok.

“With the Tennessee cathode material plant as the center, LG Chem will undoubtedly leap to become the top cathode material supplier in North America,” CEO Shin Hak-cheol said in a statement. “LG Chem will execute the vision to become the world’s leading comprehensive battery material company, establishing a stable supply chain resilient to any environment.”

LG Chem will invest approximately KRW 2 trillion (USD 1.6 billion) in the first phase to build a cathode plant with an annual capacity of 60,000 tons on a 1.7 million square meter site in Clarksville. The plant is expected to be the largest cathode material facility in the United States, capable of producing cathode materials for approximately 600,000 high-performance pure electric vehicles with a range of 500 km annually.

Starting from 2026, the Tennessee cathode plant will mass-produce NCMA (nickel, cobalt, manganese, aluminum) cathode materials. LG Chem plans to diversify its product portfolio through future-generation cathode material products and expand production capacity in response to increasing demand. The company previously signed a comprehensive agreement for the long-term supply of 950,000 tons of cathode materials with General Motors (GM) in 2022, and a North American cathode material supply contract worth KRW 2.9 trillion (USD 2.5 billion) with Toyota in October 2023.

Through the plant, LG Chem aims to actively respond to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of the Biden Administration, helping customers meet EV tax credits criteria. The Tennessee plant will secure a reliable supply chain for minerals and precursors from nations with U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs). For instance, it will utilize precursors from Ulsan by Korea Precursor Company (KPC), a joint venture of LG Chem and Korea Zinc, the company said.

LG Chem will enhance the manufacturing competitiveness of the Tennessee plant by advancing its engineering technology of the calcination process, securing what it called the world’s highest-level annual production capacity of 10,000 tons per line. LG Chem will also apply smart factory technology to the Tennessee plant, automating the entire production process and establishing a quality analysis and control system.

The company said it is also discussing collaboration with U.S. battery recycling companies regarding material supply cooperation. The company plans to operate the plant with 100 percent renewable energy, including solar and hydro power, in collaboration with local power supply companies.

“Tennessee strives to be the premier destination for the next generation of innovation and high-quality jobs, and because of companies like LG Chem, we are one step closer to that goal,” said Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart C. McWhorter, in a statement. “I look forward to seeing this impressive facility in the years ahead.”