Neometals completes lithium recycling pilot
Neometals has completed pilot plant testing on its potentially lithium-ion battery recycling technology with the work pointing to high recoveries of nickel, cobalt and other valuable battery materials such as lithium from spent and scrapped batteries. The company’s proprietary hydrometallurgical process can then turn the metals into a host of chemicals for re-use within the lithium supply chain.
The company now plans to test the commercial waters and negotitate with potential offtake customers.
The pilot test work was undertaken by SGS Canada Inc. and was part of the company’s predevelopment activities for a proposed commercial lithium-ion battery recycling venture to recover the used materials from electric vehicle and consumer batteries.
Neometals shredded and processed 2.3 tonnes of spent batteries, producing 980kg’s of cathode and anode material, or black powder, which was fed into its proprietary hydrometallurgical processing flow sheet.
The test work, along with the recovery of valuable cathode metals such as nickel and cobalt, extracted over 90% of the lithium as a lithium chloride solution.
Neometals said it is planning to conduct further purification work on the lithium chloride solution so it can be converted into a commercially sought after lithium hydroxide product.This process will use a patented process known as “Eli”, that is owned by Reed Advanced Materials, of which Neometals owns a 70% stake with mega-miner Mineral Resources holding the remainder of the company.
Neometals and German engineering giant, SMS Group will now conduct its due diligence of the pilot's metallurgical test work with a view to potentially forming a 50/50 JV where the partners will look to fully commercialise its recycled products.
Neometals’ Managing Director Chris Reed said: “We remain convinced that electrification of transport is an unstoppable trend which by default will generate ever increasing volumes of production scrap and end‐of‐life batteries to responsibly manage.”
“We have now proven that we have a solution to meet the lithium‐ion battery supply chains need for a safe, environmentally friendly recycling process which can reduce reliance on imported mineral feedstocks and satisfy increasing regulatory and stakeholder demands for sustainable and ethical raw material supply chains.”
Neometals recent scoping study revealed that a commercial-scale battery-recycling development could churn out a very significant $72m per year in pre-tax cash flows over an initial 10-year plant life – that’s more than some lithium mines can achieve.
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