Lithium Australia Takes Larger Stake in Battery Recycler Envirostream

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) has made further inroads in its quest to ensure an ethical and sustainable supply of energy metals to the battery industry as well as enhancing energy security in the process, by creating a circular battery economy.

The recycling of old lithium-ion batteries to new is intrinsic to this plan and Lithium Australia announced the achievement of a key milestone in its circular battery economy plans by confirming an increase in the company’s stake in leading Australian battery recycler Envirostream from 23.9 per cent to 73.7 per cent.

Envirostream recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with South Korean company SungEel HiTech Co., Ltd for the sale of recycled battery metals that covers the exclusive supply of metals extracted from recycled lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) out of Australia.

That supply comprises mixed metal dust (MMD) that contains the energy metals cobalt, nickel and lithium that are recovered from spent LIBs at Envirostream’s battery recycling plant in Melbourne.

Envirostream is the only company in Australia with the integrated capacity to collect, sort, shred and separate all the components of spent LIBs, making it a perfect fit with Lithium Australia’s critical battery metal extraction expertise.

During FY19, Envirostream generated $1.3 million in revenue from recycling 149 tonnes of spent batteries.

The expanded plant, which has the capacity to recycle up to 3,000 tonnes per annum of batteries, has been successfully commissioned with first MMD produced.

It is currently in the process of being ramped up and optimised.

“Lithium Australia views the acquisition of a controlling interest in Envirostream as not only taking a key position in the recycling of battery metals, but also providing an environmental solution for all Australians that use batteries,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Following the successful construction and commissioning of Australia’s biggest lithium ion battery recycling plant, Envirostream can now focus on the roll out of its Australia-wide collection network.

“Together, Lithium Australia and Envirostream are developing environmentally responsible solutions to the mounting problems of spent batteries.

“Keeping spent batteries from landfill and exporting the energy metals they contain is an Australian imperative.

“Closing the loop on the production of battery materials reduces the environmental footprint of the mining and processing aspects inherent in battery production, improves sustainability and prevents the components of spent batteries from leaking into groundwater and oceans as a consequence of their relegation to landfill or transport to other jurisdictions.

“Envirostream can provide an immediate and viable solution to the LIB disposal crisis in this country.”

As part consideration for the acquired interest Lithium Australia has made a payment to Envirostream of $100,000, a percentage of which will be used by Envirostream for commissioning its expanded Melbourne battery recycling facilities.

Following the acquisition of LIT’s 73.7 pwer cent interest in Envirostream, the company’s founder Andrew Mackenzie will remain as managing director while Adrian Griffin will be appointed non-executive chairman and Andrew Skalski will be appointed as a non-executive director.