THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Neometals (ASX: NMT) declared the completion of pilot plant test‐work on the company’s proprietary lithium‐ion battery (LIB) recycling technology a success.
Neometals said the pilot testing validated earlier bench scale assumptions with high recoveries of the targeted suite of cathode active elements and refined them into high purity chemicals for re‐use in the battery supply chain.
Neometals has developed a sustainable process for recovering nickel, cobalt and other valuable materials from spent and scrap LIBs that might otherwise be disposed of in land fill or processed in high emission pyrometallurgical recovery circuits.
The technology physically separates and recovers battery steel casings, aluminium and copper foil, plastic separators, and graphite from high‐value battery cathode materials including nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium.
The company considers the successful completion of the pilot work as an important commercial milestone for the recycling technology.
Objectives were met and surpassed, no fatal technical flaws arose, and the company now has the data to commence feasibility‐level studies and proposed demonstration trials in Europe.
With the Pilot greatly reducing the technical risk of its proprietary process, Neometals said it can proceed confidently towards the proposed commercialisation JV with SMS Group and advance feed supply and product offtake activities.
“We are delighted to have completed the lithium battery recycling Pilot with such encouraging results,” Neometals managing director Chris Reed said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“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.
“We are looking forward with our partner to commercialise this asset. SMS’s skill set and global presence will further enhance value and lower risk as we prepare to showcase our offering to the market in a Commercial Demonstration Plant in Europe, the region with the fastest growing battery cell production capacity.”
Neometals indicated that SMS Group will complete its review of the final metallurgical test work report and Metsim mass‐energy balance.
The review constitutes the final technical diligence requirements to enable an SMS decision to enter a project commercialisation JV by the end of April 2020.
Both parties are negotiating the JV legal agreements in parallel with Commercial Demonstration Plant design and procurement work packages.
The Pilot learnings have highlighted scope to further improve outcomes in optimisation test‐work that has commenced and will precede the Demonstration Trial.