Posco-Backed Group Invests in Lithium Startup EnergyX


Summary: South Korean conglomerate Posco Holdings is leading a consortium that is investing in lithium technology startup EnergyX, in an effort to find more efficient methods for producing the battery metal. The push to electrify the global economy has increased the demand for stable lithium supplies and has highlighted the development of unproven direct lithium extraction (DLE) technologies. EnergyX is building a DLE demonstration plant in Argentina’s Salta Province, near Posco’s Sal de Oro project. Posco will test and potentially license EnergyX’s technology.

South Korean conglomerate Posco Holdings is spearheading a consortium that is investing in EnergyX, a lithium technology startup. The consortium, which includes South Korea’s Elohim Partners and IMM Investment Global, will participate in EnergyX’s $50 million Series B funding round. The goal is to develop more efficient ways to produce lithium for the growing green energy market. The demand for stable supplies of lithium and other critical minerals has increased as the world’s economy shifts towards electrification.

The development of direct lithium extraction (DLE) technologies, such as the ones being developed by EnergyX, could potentially produce lithium faster and cheaper than traditional evaporation ponds. This has drawn attention to EnergyX and its competitors in the lithium extraction market. EnergyX is currently building a DLE demonstration plant in Argentina’s Salta Province, near Posco’s Sal de Oro lithium project.

As part of the investment deal, Posco will collaborate with EnergyX to help bring its technology to commercial production. The companies have not disclosed the exact amount of funding provided by the consortium. However, Posco will have the right to invest in future lithium projects developed by EnergyX, in proportion to its investment in the startup. Posco, which operates a test facility capable of producing up to 2,500 metric tons of lithium per year, aims to become South America’s largest producer by 2026.

EnergyX CEO Teague Egan sees Posco as a flagship customer for the lithium extraction technology being developed by his company. The partnership with Posco could potentially result in a full commercial agreement. EnergyX is also actively seeking to acquire Argentine brine deposits as part of its expansion plans. The startup has already built a DLE demonstration plant in Chile, but was disqualified from a lithium production competition in Bolivia last year.

Posco’s investment in EnergyX aligns with its overall strategy to become a major player in the battery materials market. The conglomerate, which operates the Ultium CAM cathode joint venture with General Motors, aims to generate $32.57 billion in sales of battery materials by 2030. The collaboration with EnergyX will allow Posco to explore more sustainable and efficient methods of lithium production.

Tags: Posco, EnergyX, lithium technology, battery metal, green energy transition