Eco Investor March 2017

Pre-Revenue Securities

Recycling Cobalt From Lithium Batteries

Recovering cobalt from lithium ion batteries used in consumer electronic devices may be a step closer with Neometals saying that proof of scale test work at its facilities in Montreal, Canada supports the business case to accelerate the commercialization of the technology.

The test work was on 100 kilograms of spent lithium ion laptop and phone batteries containing an average of 19.8 per cent cobalt. This showed that the projected operating cost is US$4.45/lb of contained cobalt.

The next step is investing in a continuous operation, pilot scale hydrometallurgical plant to accelerate the evaluation of the recovery of high purity cobalt and the future recovery of lithium, nickel, copper and aluminium. If that works, a feasibility study will follow.

Neometals said advancing the opportunity to process used lithium ion batteries to recover high value materials is part of its strategy to diversify into the downstream lithium/ battery materials supply chain.

Neometals has co-developed a technology to economically recover 99.2 per cent of the high value cobalt so it can be recycled into battery making. Over half of lithium ion batteries contain lithium cobalt chemistry, it said, but currently less than 5 per cent of used lithium ion batteries are recycled. Disposal is usually paid-for recycling or landfill.

Neometals' subsidiary, Urban Mining Pty Ltd, holds its interest in the intellectual property and manages the commercialization of the technology.

Neometals' managing director, Chris Reed, said "With the Mt Marion Lithium Project successfully in production, Neometals can extend its strategic focus to opportunities in the higher margin, downstream opportunities in the lithium value chain where we can apply our knowledge and technology portfolio. Here the opportunity is to provide an environmentally and ethically responsible, end-of-life solution by recycling the lithium units we produce." (ASX: NMT)

 

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