Press Release

Board View

Strengthening Core Mineral Supply Chains and Systematic Cultivation of the Used Battery Industry Ecosystem

▷ Legislation to foster the industrial ecosystem for used batteries (2024)

▷ Significant reduction in the secondary battery patent examination period through measures such as expanding specialized examination personnel (21 → 10 months)

▷ SConsideration of designating essential technologies for core minerals such as nickel and lithium as “new growth” and “basic technologies” under the Act on Restriction on Special Cases Concerning Taxation

The government announced the “Measures to Strengthen the Competitiveness of the Secondary Battery Life Cycle Industry” at the emergency economic ministers’ meeting on December 13 (Wednesday) at 08:00. This measure has been prepared to maintain the global competitiveness of the secondary battery industry in South Korea in the fiercely competitive situation of securing the supply chain of secondary batteries in major countries such as the U.S. IRA and the EU Critical Raw Materials Act. It aims to actively utilize the industrial ecosystem, focusing on re-manufacturing, reusing, and recycling of batteries after use, rather than regulating them as waste.

First, a bill will be prepared in 2024 to systematically foster the industrial ecosystem of re-manufacturing, reusing, and recycling batteries after use. To promote the safe and reliable distribution and utilization of electric vehicles with batteries after use (remanufacturing) and reused products (ESS, UAM, etc.), a three-stage safety inspection system (① performance evaluation of batteries after use - ② safety inspection before distribution - ③ post-distribution inspection) will be introduced. Batteries after use that meet the re-manufacturing and reusing standards through detailed performance evaluations before removal will be recognized as “products” rather than “waste” from the point of removal, thus promoting industrial utilization. To internalize the core mineral supply chain of secondary batteries, the storage and processing period for batteries after use by recycling companies will be extended (30→180 days), and a battery life cycle history management system will be established to legislate the obligation of information input for each stage of users and evaluators, etc. 

Furthermore, by introducing a patent prioritized examination system currently applied to semiconductors and expanding specialized examination personnel, the patent examination period for secondary batteries will be significantly shortened from 21 months to 10 months. Additionally, in accordance with the Enforcement Decree of the Eco-Friendly Vehicles Act, the definition of electric vehicles will include ‘electric motorcycles,’ exempting electric motorcycle battery exchange service providers from the electric sales business permit under the Electric Utility Act. Support will be provided for the creation of new markets such as secondary battery sub ion services.

Moreover, tax deductions for overseas resource development investments for acquiring mining rights and prospecting rights will be applied starting from investments made in 2024, with a deduction rate of 3% of the investment or acquisition amount. There will be enhanced tax support by considering designating essential technologies for the refining and processing of core minerals such as nickel and lithium as “new growth” and “basic technologies” under the Act on Restriction on Special Cases Concerning Taxation.

Finally, the government plans to provide comprehensive support with policy financing of over KRW 38 trillion for the next five years (2024-2028) across all areas of the secondary battery industry, including minerals, materials, and finished products. Additionally, the government will swiftly proceed with the ‘Next-Generation Secondary Battery Technology Development Project’ (2024-2028, KRW 117.2 billion), which passed the preliminary feasibility study on November 29, 2023, starting from 2024. The government intends to invest a total of KRW 73.6 billion in R&D in 2024, representing a 31% increase compared to 2023.