PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Operating and capital cost estimates for the Primobius joint venture (JV) battery recycling plant, in Germany, have been completed.
ASX-listed Neometals in 2020 struck a JV agreement with mechanical engineering firm SMS group GmbH to commercialise the company’s lithium battery recycling process.
The JV, dubbed Primobius GmbH, will use the Neometals recycling technology to recover lithium, nickel, cobalt and other materials from spent and scrap electric vehicle and consumer electronics.
Neometals on Friday said that the operating cost for a 50 t/d, commercial-scale lithium-ion battery recycling plant has been estimated at $1 560/t of batteries processed, with the capital cost estimate coming in at $165-million.
“We are extremely encouraged with the robust potential economics for Primobius’ first proposed commercial plant. Importantly, the operating costs have increased by less than 5% from our 2019 scoping study estimates, despite the jump from lab to pilot-scale, and the site relocation from Kwinana to Germany,” said Neometals MD Chris Reed.
“We took the conservative step to include the cost of constructing dedicated industrial buildings until such time as we are able to identify and agree terms to leased premises. Naturally, we expected the capital cost to increase in line with the change in scope and increased estimation accuracy levels.”
Primobius has been developing and evaluating Neometals’ proprietary processing method of recycling scrap and spent lithium-ion batteries to recover cobalt, nickel, lithium, copper, manganese and a range of lower value materials into a saleable product.
The recycling plant flowsheet, which has been tested at pilot scale, comprises a battery preparation and shredding section to remove metal casings, foils and plastics in the feed preparation facility, and a leaching, recovery and refining section that will deliver chemical products via the hydrometallurgical processing facility.
“The safe production of, amongst other things, cathode-grade nickel and cobalt sulphates from a variety of battery feedstocks, using our patent-pending process, augurs well for achieving our ambitions to build Europe’s leading sustainable recycling solution,” Reed said.
Near-term steps for the project would now include the completion of demonstration plant trials, supplying product marketing samples to end-users and potential offtakers, completing the feasibility study, and advancing discussions with potential debt and equity financiers.
The JV will also look at completing location studies and securing commercial terms for the chosen site, securing site and government approvals.