Electra, Glencore agree offtake of reclaimed nickel and cobalt

By Julian Buckley07 April 2022

Current refinery configuration Electra Current refinery configuration, to be used for large-scale battery recycling demonstration Photo: CNW Group/Electra Battery Materials Corporation

Electra Battery Materials, which is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, has reported it has entered into an agreement with Glencore for delivery (‘offtake’) of nickel and cobalt from its planned lithium-ion battery recycling plant.

Electra is set to run a demonstration recycling plant this year, with the commercial plant coming online in 2023.

Glencore, a raw materials specialist with operations in 35 countries, has agreed to purchase reclaimed nickel and cobalt delivered by the operation between 2023 – ’24. Electra reports that it is in discussions with other companies about delivery of reclaimed lithium, copper and graphite.

Electra said that it has established relationships with more than 30 companies which can deliver so-called ‘black mass’, the metal-rich powder created from shredding li-ion batteries. Glencore is already one of the largest processors of black mass, primarily at its plant in Sudbury, Canada.

Electra’s hydrometallurgical refinery is expected to provide higher yields at a lower cost and energy usage than traditional facilities. The refinery will use hydroelectric power, which should deliver nearly zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The first recycling ‘module’ is expected to produce about 2000 tonnes per annum of mixed hydroxide precipitate from approximately 4500 tonnes of black mass. This is equivalent to recycling the batteries from about 20,000 electric vehicles.

Electra states that it is currently in the second step of a four-phase development plan which will ultimately see installation of an integrated battery materials park in Canada.

The first phase covered commissioning of North America’s only cobalt sulphate refinery. This is due to be commissioned in December 2022. The third phase will see the addition of a nickel sulphate plant.

It is hoped that reclaimed material will be delivered to a battery cathode precursor manufacturer also located in the Electra Battery Materials park.

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