Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks at the SK Battery plant Monday.

SK Battery on Monday hosted Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp at its factory complex in Commerce as executives set their sights on a future of unencumbered growth after settling a long-simmering dispute with rival LG Energy Solution.  

The Korean-owned firm behind the state’s largest-ever investment project thanked the governor for the state’s support amid a drawn-out legal fight that threatened to close down its electric-vehicle battery plants before they truly began production.  

(From left) CEO of SK Innovation Kim Jun, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson and President of SK Innovation’s Battery Business Jee Dong-seob hold battery cells produced at SK Innovation’s EV battery plant in Jackson County. Photo: SK Innovation

“We have stood with them and we’re going to continue to stand with them,” Mr. Kemp reportedly said, a nod to his lobbying on behalf of the company with the Biden administration.   

SK Innovation CEO Jun Kim emphasized that not only had its deal with LG saved the initial $2.6 billion and 2,600 jobs promised, but also that SK is forging ahead with an investment plan that would bring those numbers to $5 billion and 6,000 jobs by 2025 now that the specter of an import ban is removed.  

According to a LinkedIn post from Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson, also in attendance at the event, 600 people have already been hired on the site, where construction is well under way on the second phase. Mr. Wilson wrote that he’d met people from Athens, Commerce and Toccoa while walking the factory floor.

“Having grown up 30 minutes from the plant, it is incredibly exciting to see SK innovation’s investment already changing the lives and livelihoods of people and communities in the region,” he wrote. 

At the event, Mr. Kemp emphasized the importance of the settlement not only for Georgians but also for the U.S. electric-vehicle sector — a factor he had mentioned in multiple appeals to President Biden to overturn a U.S. International Trade Commission ruling in February that threatened the viability of the SK investment.  

SK this month agreed to pay LG $1.8 billion to settle their dispute, rendering the import ban moot and potentially saving thousands of local jobs.  

Construction on the second phase of the battery complex is well under way. Photo: SK Innovation

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...