New arrivals

12/02/2022   ACE won I...
11/24/2022   New Trend...
11/17/2022   Asia'...
11/07/2022   2022 New ...
11/04/2022   SUSscrap ...
11/01/2022   Enhancing...
11/01/2022   Wanting t...
11/01/2022   De-China ...
11/01/2022   Nippon St...
10/28/2022   BIR Conve...
10/25/2022   Future Fo...
10/25/2022   Annual Co...
10/24/2022   What will...
10/20/2022   Rare Eart...
09/30/2022   Rare eart...
09/29/2022   BatterySu...
09/26/2022   A Closer ...
09/06/2022   Rare Eart...
09/02/2022   2022/08/3...
09/02/2022   2022/08/3...

Annual Cobalt Processing Capacity: Approx. 2,000 Tons for the EV Era - Interview with CoreMax, Taiwan, Vol. 1

10/25/2022 08:29 FREE

CoreMax (CoreMax Corporation) is the largest battery materials company in Taiwan and is located in the Hsinchu Industrial Park in Taiwan. We were able to interview the company at its headquarters this time. Mr. Eugene Ho, the company's president, spoke to us about the company's technological strengths and future prospects. Mr. Eugene Ho is the dupety CEO of CoreMax Group, which includes CoreMax Corporation, Heng I Chemical, and Uranus Chemicals. This article presents the first half of the interview.

 

photo

Left: Reporter, Right: Mr. Eugene Ho, President, in the reception room at CoreMax headquarters

 

Mr. Ho came to Japan as an exchange student during his senior year of college in the U.S. After studying at a Japanese university for one year, he worked for ITOCHU Corporation for four years, and is fluent in both English and Japanese. He spoke mostly in Japanese for this interview. ITOCHU was a shareholder of CoreMax until five years ago, holding 5% of its shares (currently about 1%), and the business relationship continues today.
 
The history of CoreMax began when Mr. Ho's grandfather founded Heng I Chemical Co. In 1992, his father, Jim Ho, the current CEO of CoreMax and chairman of CoreMax Group, established "Chempro Uranus Limited" as a joint venture between SMC AG of Switzerland and Uranus Chemical of Taiwan. In 1999, the Taiwanese shareholders acquired all the shares held by the Swiss shareholders, and the company name changed to "CoreMax Corporation” which has been up to the present. Later, Jim Ho established CoreMax Group with Heng I Chemical and Uranus Chemical under its umbrella.
 
In 1992, CoreMax established its first production line and began manufacturing a series of oxidation catalysts required for the production of PTA/DMT/IPA/TMA, and in 1994, it built the catalyst recovery plant and began providing the regeneration catalyst services. In 1999, the company expanded its scope to include the battery materials industry, which was the beginning to attract attention at the time, and invested aggressively in the establishment of a production line for advanced materials and battery materials at its Hsinchu Plant in Taiwan. Currently, the group has seven production sites in Taiwan and three overseas. In the past, the company was even involved in the production of cathode materials. Due to a change in policy at the partner company, the company is currently limited to the production of battery materials, but the fact that it has the technology to manufacture even cathode materials is one of its strengths. In 2010, the company established a nickel sulfate production line at its Toufen plant in Taiwan to manufacture products for the electric vehicle battery market. The company also lists on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, and is still developing new technologies and making strides toward further growth.
 
While CoreMax has acquired various certifications, including ISO, it should be noted that it took two years to acquire IATF 16949 (an international standard for quality management systems specific to the automotive industry, adopted by many automakers around the world as a global procurement standard for automotive parts.) (Many automobile manufacturers around the world have adopted this standard as a global procurement standard for automobile parts. See JQA) This certification is common in Europe and is very important for supplying EV raw materials. CoreMax has obtained IATF 16949 certification for all automotive battery materials, and RMI (Cobalt Human Rights Certification System) has also been obtained.
 
The entire group has more than 400 employees, about half of whom work at the headquarters in Hsinchu, the site of this interview. Because of the large volume of business with Japan, there are Japanese-speaking members of the group at each company.
 
 
CoreMax's strength is its solvent extraction technology
“CoreMax's strength is its technology. We are in the field of inorganic chemistry and can make chemicals and various raw materials from metals using our unique technology. Another strength is the varieties we handle," says Ho. The company's Lab division is in charge of research and development of technology, and is developing new technologies on a daily basis. The company also has a dedicated unit for introducing the technology developed by the Lab department to on-site facilities, and its members are indispensable for maintaining a high level of competitiveness and quality at all times. The research department is involved in new technology development, equipment maintenance, and OEM for European manufacturers and the company's own team is also involved in site selection when building factories overseas.
 
Among the many technologies, Mr. Ho particularly emphasized the company's strength in solvent extraction, which can be produced using intermediate raw materials. Products using solvent extraction have been in production since 2018, and the group as a whole has an annual processing capacity of over 2,000 tons of cobalt. It was reported that China accounts for more than 80% of the companies in Asia that can use intermediate raw materials as raw materials, but outside of China, there is only one company in South Korea and the only one in Taiwan, CoreMax.
 
The reason for this technology's great strength is related to raw material procurement. Taiwan, like Japan, relies on imports for raw materials, but mines today are less likely to make even ingots of the final product in order to keep investment costs down, and are more likely to provide them as intermediate raw materials. The ability to use intermediate raw materials not only broadens the range of raw materials that can be procured, but also allows to choose the more advantageous option from a cost perspective by comparing the prices of ingots and intermediate raw materials. Using the same technology, black mass with high cobalt purity can also be used as a raw material.
 
For nickel sulfate, the company said it has the technology to purify, control particles, synthesize, and control miscellaneous qualities.
 
 
CoreMax's Market Size and Position
As mentioned above, CoreMax's annual processing capacity for cobalt is 2,000 tons per year, and according to Mr. Ho, it is the number one battery materials-related company in Taiwan in terms of sales.

 

 

photo

From the CoreMax website Product categories handled

 

 

Sales of catalysts account for 16%, battery materials 59%, fertilizers 8%, and chemical raw materials 14%, with approximately 70% of non-catalyst sales going to Japan, followed by China. The relationship with Japan is deep. For example, together with group company Heng I Chemical Co. CoreMax's plant in Miaoli, Taiwan, which manufactures nickel sulfate, fertilizer, and solvent extraction (solvent extraction is handled by Uranus Chemicals Co.) The company has been collaborating with Mitsubishi Chemical for more than 25 years and has facilities on the same site. JACAM Agri is located on the site of Uranus Chemicals in Taichung, Taiwan, and the raw materials produced at Heng I (which produces fertilizers) are provided to JACAM Agri for processing, and then returned to Heng I for further processing.
 
 
Continued to the second half: Future Focus on Solvent Extraction Technology from Intermediate Raw Materials--Interview with CoreMax, Taiwan, Vol. 2
 

(IRUNIVERSE i.YUKO, translated by S. Aoyama )

Related articles