In order to diversify its operations beyond the smelting of non-ferrous metals, Korea Zinc Co., the largest lead and zinc smelter in the world, proposes to invest 9.74 trillion won ($7.5 billion) in renewable energy, green hydrogen, and battery materials by 2030.
The company will invest 8.57 trillion won in hydrogen and renewable energy projects. These projects will be led by the company’s two Australian affiliates, Ark Energy and Epuron, which it acquired last year. Ark Energy is a sister company of Korea Zinc’s Australian zinc producer Sun Metals.
In September of last year, Korea Zinc agreed to export hydrogen through the Port of Townsville in Queensland.
According to the deal, the renewable energy company Ark Energy would create liquid hydrogen and use the port to export locally produced green hydrogen to Korea.
The purest kind of hydrogen is green hydrogen, which creates hydrogen from water using renewable energy.
By 2030, Korea Zinc stated it hopes to produce 500,000 tons of green hydrogen annually and join Australia’s Big 5 hydrogen industries.
Sun Metals will get some of the green hydrogen produced in Australis. A representative from Korea Zinc stated, “We will make eco-friendly zinc using a process that produces no carbon.”
The business also intends to spend 736.5 billion won on KZAM Corp., a subsidiary that manufactures copper foil, to boost that company’s manufacturing capacity from 13,000 tons to 60,000 tons by 2027.
Materials used as anodes in rechargeable batteries are covered with copper foil.
For $332 million in July of this year, Korea Zinc purchased a 73.21 percent ownership in Igneo Holdings LLC, a US-based recycler of electronic trash.
During the smelting process, Igneo gathers electronic trash and recovers copper, gold, silver, and palladium.
Korea Zinc anticipates that Igneo’s e-waste supply chain will provide a consistent supply of copper foil materials and facilitate its entrance into the market for recycling rechargeable batteries.
Choi Yun-Birm, vice chairman and co-CEO of Korea Zinc and a third-generation member of the company’s founding family, has aggressively sought fresh development opportunities ever since he assumed control of Korea Zinc in 2019.
He declared that the firm will expand beyond the processing of non-ferrous metals to include renewable energy, green hydrogen, trash recycling, and materials for rechargeable batteries.