Critical minerals supply technology launched

1st September 2023

With the recent launch of their battery black mass recycling process, sustainable technology solutions and service provider Metso Corporation is currently able to offer complete processes and services for battery minerals production in addition to addressing the supply and recycling of critical minerals, including lithium, nickel and cobalt.

This includes services throughout the value chain, from minerals extraction to refined battery chemicals and end-of-life battery black mass recycling.

The recycling of battery black mass is becoming an important means to complement primary battery metals supply and to reduce the carbon footprint of the battery supply chain.

“Today we can provide sustainable technology and equipment for the entire lithium, nickel and cobalt production chains,” says Metso hydrometallurgy VP Mikko Rantaharju.

The project scopes can range from equipment packages to plant deliveries.

Lithium is one of the most used minerals in battery manufacturing, with the mineral being extracted either from brines or lithium-bearing ores, such as spodumene.

Metso’s offer includes the complete processes for brines and lithium-bearing ores. For the hard-rock-based spodumene concentrates, Metso has developed an acid- and sulphate-free soda pressure-leaching process, making it one of the more environmentally sustainable processes available for lithium production.

Besides lithium, other critical minerals such as nickel and cobalt also have an important role in the battery manufacturing chain, either in battery chemistry or in other components.

For these minerals, Metso has a comprehensive and sustainable process technology offering, coupled with their hydrometallurgical battery black mass recycling process, which is part of the company’s Planet Positive offer. This enables the sustainable recovery of critical metals for reuse in production of new batteries, as well as in other applications.

He explains that Metso can provide support to the company’s customers in the process design with their comprehensive testing and research capabilities.

“Our strength in battery minerals process design is based on the deep concentrator and hydrometallurgical knowledge we have gained through working with our mining customers around the world,” explains Metso battery chemicals business director Don Simola.

Simola explains that, with Metso’s support, many customers within the battery industry are already benefiting from the early stages of the project.

“Process simulations are essential within the piloting phase, supporting process and equipment design, training and plant operation,” adds Simola.

Simola explains that for this purpose, Metso uses their unique metallurgical digital twin Geminex, which is based on Metso’s proprietary HSC-Sim software for predictive process simulations.

Simola concludes that the battery market is active, and Metso is currently working with several lithium processing and battery recycling projects that are in the study, piloting, engineering or delivery phases.