Neometals has successfully begun commissioning stage 1 of its lithium-ion battery recycling pilot plant in Canada.
Neometals (ASX:NMT) has successfully commissioned stage 1 of its lithium-ion battery (LIB) recycling pilot plant in Canada.
Stage 1 of the pilot is set to consist of front-end feed preparation, which entails the shredding and removal of metal battery casings and plastics to produce a concentrate called black powder.
Meanwhile, stage 2 will see hydrometallurgical processing and refining to produce high-purity battery materials for the marketplace.
Black powder is a mixture of cobalt, nickel and lithium compounds, along with shredded copper and aluminum foil, that is an acceptable feed material for stage 2 processing. The pilot’s first stage was successfully commissioned using 2 tonnes of used LIB feed.
The leaching component of stage 2 is expected for the March/April period, with purification set for either May, June or July.
SGS Canada has been contracted by Neometals to construct and operate the pilot in its Lakefield facility, and will be handling both stages.
“We are delighted to see our battery recycling project back on track. The commissioning of the pilot represents a significant milestone and marks the culmination of extensive research and development into a flowsheet to process multiple battery chemistries, from consumer electronics to electric vehicle applications,” Neometals Managing Director Chris Reed said in a statement.
“With ever increasing volumes of commercial LIBs reaching their end of life, we are focussed on proving at scale, then qualifying our [scalable] and modular recycling solution with industry as early as possible. The Pilot will serve as a showcase facility for potential partners as well as provide strong independent data for future engineering and financial studies,” he added.
According to Neometals, only an estimated 5 percent of LIBs are recycled globally, though regulations regarding LIBs are making progress. As such, the company is looking to tap into those regulations — along with corporate requirements for ethical sourcing and disposal — to recover critical and/or non-renewable resources and reduce environmental impact.
Going forward, a front-end engineering design (FEED) study and feasibility study (FS) are docketed to come after the pilot to give Neometals an idea of development costs.
The company anticipates that the FEED study will begin in July, with a final investment decision on a commercial plant expected for 2019’s December quarter.
Neometals’ share price was flat at AU$0.20 as of 11:23 a.m. PST on Tuesday (February 12).
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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.