Neometals and its giant JV partner, German-headquartered SMS group have delivered on key design, procurement and permitting milestones, paving the way for its lithium-ion battery recycling demonstration plant to be built. The innovative pair recently received approvals to build the demonstration plant at SMS’s manufacturing centre in the German town of Hilchenbach as they look to commercialise their joint recycling technology in Europe.
ASX-listed Neometals’ joint venture in Europe has delivered on key design, procurement and permitting milestones paving the way for its lithium-ion battery recycling demonstration plant to be built.
The Perth-based company and its JV partner, the giant German-headquartered engineering and construction outfit, SMS group consummated their union four months ago under the jointly owned corporate vehicle, Primobius.
Neometals and SMS are looking to capitalise on the fast-growing volumes of end-of-life lithium batteries. Its partnership has recently received regulatory approvals to build the demonstration plant at SMS’s manufacturing facility in the German town of Hilchenbach.
Assembly preparations for construction of the plant, which is designed to process one tonne of spent and scrap lithium-ion batteries a day, are now under way.
The demonstration plant is intended to serve as a showcase for potential customers such as carmakers and consumer electronics and battery manufacturers to assess how well Primobius’ recycling process can recover reusable cathode raw materials for the production of new sustainable batteries from end-of-life and or hazardous lithium-ion batteries.
According to the company, each product generated by the plant, whether high or low value product, will be put through evaluation trials with potential offtake partners. Primobius says the key payable outputs to be produced by its demo plant, nickel and cobalt sulphate, will be higher purity than those required by Chinese national specifications for cathode use.
Primobius envisages the commissioning and operation of the demo plant’s shredding and beneficiation circuit to take place first, followed by the commencement of the hydrometallurgical refining circuit in the June quarter of next year. Used lithium batteries for the plant will be sourced from prospective partners in the automotive industry.
Neometals Managing Director, Chris Reed said: “Europe is becoming the largest LIB (lithium-ion battery) producer outside China as its auto industry transitions away from the internal combustion engine.”
“The EU battery regulations have been strengthened considerably with a focus on decarbonisation of electric vehicle supply chains and battery manufacturing. The regulatory landscape now encompasses the entire battery value chain which aligns with our high-recovery, low CO2, hydrometallurgical recycling solution and our ability to deliver the scale required through our partnership with SMS group.”
Last month Primobius struck a memorandum of understanding with Slovakian lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing company, InoBat Auto for joint recycling using plant feed sourced from its pilot and commercial activities.
The agreement with InoBat represents a significant initial step in Primobius’ European commercial ambitions and for a possible Primobius-InoBat lithium-ion recycling facility in Eastern Europe.
The potential Primobius-InoBat commercial shredding operations would involve plant feed from InoBat’s battery production scrap and hydrometallurgical refining of the so-called black mass, which is the output from the shredding, culminating in the production of cathode raw materials.
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