Neometals JV to Fund Battery Recycling Plant to Commercialisation

COMMODITY CAPERS: Neometals (ASX: NMT) and its German Joint Venture partner SMS group GmbH are to fast-track their Primobius JV to commercial operations and by doing so should be able to offer battery recycling services in Q1 2022.

Neomtals was one of the early Western Australian lithium cohort to recognise the opportunity that was to come as global reliance on lithium-ion batteries (LiBs) took off.

It’s no secret that LIB demand has grown at a rapid pace, one that is increasing due to the electric vehicle, energy storage and portable electronics markets.

What has also grown in this time is the waste created by end of life and scrap batteries, which poses a tremendous environmental challenge.

Globally LIB demand is already up 25 per cent with 15 million tonnes of LIBs forecast to be discarded from 2020 to 2030.

LiBs are hazardous to people and the environment when not disposed of appropriately.

Thankfully far-sighted regulators are seriously looking at battery recycling, and in many jurisdictions making it mandatory.

To meet such requirements, Primobius emerged as a Joint Venture partnership between Neometals and private German plant manufacturer, SMS group, with the aim of commercialising an environmentally friendly recycling solution for end-of-life and scrap LiB cells.

Primobius has a sustainability ethos, designing its advanced recycling solution to integrate into the circular economy, promoting the elimination of waste and the continual use of resources as well as reducing the need for primary resources.

Primobius’ advanced recycling process with low CO2 emissions delivers high purity chemicals back to the battery manufacturing sector.

Using a unique proprietary process, cobalt and other valuable materials are recovered from waste LiBs.

Source: Neometals ASX announcement.

This week the JV partners announced they intend to fund the fast-track commercialisation of Primobius’ commercial LIB recycling operations.

This will entail expanding the current demonstration plant (DP) in Hilchenbach Germany and build up operational capacity to provide a 10 tonnes per day battery disposal recycling service in Q1 2022.

This ‘Shredder Plant’ will generate early revenue from the sale of intermediate active materials, known as Black Mass, and set a market reference for operational capability.

Showcase DP trials currently underway will provide data for upcoming engineering and feasibility studies to develop a 50tpd (20,000tpa) integrated (Shredding and Hydrometallurgical Refining) German LIB recycling operation.

Neometals believes this development to fast-track commercial shredding operations is a positive move to keep pace with a rapidly developing industry searching for immediate sustainable recycling solutions.

“We are excited to herald the entry of Primobius into the commercial European battery recycling landscape,” Neometals managing director Chris Reed said.

“The funding approval is an agile response by the JV shareholders to strong demand for the safe disposal of growing volumes of lithium-ion batteries arising from warranty returns and at end-of-life.

“10 tonnes per day Shredding Plant 1 represents the maximum commitment we can make to meet demand having regard to regulatory permitting timeline constraints.

“As well as being a showcase for potential customers and partners, the facility will provide a valuable training ground for the operations team and will support continuous process improvement ahead of the next scale up to a 50 tonnes per day operation.

“The scale and speed of the electrification of transport and renewable energy storage is phenomenal, the volumes and momentum of global investment funds available to support enablers of decarbonisation steel our resolve for Primobius to become the pre-eminent recycler in the western world.”