Aqua Metals expands into lithium recycling with investment in Comstock's LiNiCo

by John Shepherd
LiNiCo expects to start production in Nevada later this year. Image: Comstock Mining
US lead battery recycler Aqua Metals today confirmed its expansion into lithium-ion recycling by investing $2m (£1.4m) in the LiNiCo Corporation – a newly capitalised cleantech aggregator.

It was also revealed that LiNiCo is the company that will lease-to-buy Aqua Metals’ McCarran plant in Nevada, as reported by World Battery News yesterday.

The investment in LiNiCo, to be paid in Aqua Metals shares, will give the lead recycler a 10% ownership in LiNiCo – and potentially see the company apply its proprietary AquaRefining technology to lithium-ion battery recycling.

Meanwhile, Nevada-based minerals developer, Comstock Mining, said today it had become the majority owner of LiNiCo – in a deal that included payment of $4.5m cash for a stake of up to 64%.

Cathode production goal

Comstock said LiNiCo will use the proceeds to increase its direct strategic investment in Singapore-based Green Li-ion – and purchase the firm’s patented process equipment, "with exclusive rights for the US market, enabling the production of 99.9% pure lithium-ion cathodes”.

LiNiCo expects to start production in Nevada later this year, building toward cathode production capacity of about 10,000 tons per year.

Aqua Metals plans to form an "eco network” with all the companies "to advance best-in-class technologies to recycle lithium-ion batteries at volume, both economically and sustainably”.

LiNiCo president, CEO and founder, Michael Vogel, said: "We believe a collaboration strategy with innovative companies that have multi-disciplinary backgrounds in metals, mining, high volume throughput, and hydrometallurgy is the best approach to solving the sustainability challenge of metals recycling, especially with lithium-ion batteries.”

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