Australia’s Core Lithium has announced the signing of a four-year offtake deal with electric vehicles manufacturer Tesla. Core Lithium will supply up to 110,000 dry metric tonnes of spodumene concentrate – and Tesla will support the mining firm with its planned development of lithium chemical processing capacity. The announcement follows last September’s final investment decision by Core Lithium to start development of its wholly owned Finniss Project, near Darwin, in Australia’s Northern Territory.   Core Lithium has said it is fully funded to deliver the Finniss Project, which has started construction, through to first lithium concentrate production scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2022. 'Encouraging' The binding term sheet with Tesla is subject to both companies completing negotiations and execution of a definitive product purchase agreement by 27 August 2022. This would provide for a supply start date before 31 July 2023, subject to extension by mutual agreement. Core Lithium MD Stephen Biggins said: "Tesla is a world-leader in electric vehicles and its investment in offtake and interest in our expansion plans for downstream processing are very encouraging.” The lithium developer said last year that studies indicated 10-years of production of high-quality lithium from Finniss project.  The company said then its capital expenditure forecast for Finniss was AUD 89m (£47.5m), targeting an average production of 173,000 tonnes per annum of high-quality lithium concentrate. Related articles in our archive Core Lithium to make final investment decision on Australian Finniss project by year's end CATL signs new Tesla batteries supply deal
Lead battery recycler Aqua Metals has announced the production of its first lithium hydroxide from lithium-ion battery black mass – just months after the company said it was moving into lithium recycling. Aqua Metals said last September that it was stepping up its expansion into lithium-ion recycling, by applying its lead battery recycling technology to Li-ion batteries. On 1 March, the company said it had achieved "a key milestone and potentially an important industry breakthrough”, by producing its first lithium hydroxide at its innovation centre in Nevada. Ben Taecker, chief operations and engineering officer, said: "This is an important step in demonstrating our proprietary Li AquaRefining process, which we think is environmentally and economically superior to other metals recycling methods.” "Our goal is to produce battery precursor grade lithium hydroxide, and these early results indicate we are on track for meeting this goal. This also confirms that we remain on schedule to start running our pilot-scale unit in the coming months.” Aqua Metals said its Li AquaRefining recycles spent lithium-ion batteries in "a clean, economical way by utilising the electron as the reagent instead of chemicals or high heat”. "The emissions-free, room-temperature process uses about one two-hundredth of the chemicals of a standard hydro process and does not generate the carbon footprint of a high heat approach,” the company said. Related articles in our archive Aqua Metals starts shipping lead battery recycling tech to ACME Metal Enterprise in Taiwan Aqua Metals launches innovation centre to apply lead battery recycling tech to Li-ion
Norwegian gigafactory developer Freyr Battery has secured a NOK 100m (£8.1m) R&D; boost to work with partners on creating a "sustainable battery materials supply chain”. The grant from the Research Council of Norway, Innovation Norway, and Siva – the national Industrial Development Corporation – has been made through the Norwegian Green Platform (NGP) to a consortium of companies including Freyr. Freyr chief sustainability officer Hege Marie Norheim said the company had already "eliminated the use of toxic binding materials in our batteries, making recycling and waste management much easier”. The consortium will now work together with Norwegian research organization SINTEF and the country’s Institute for Energy Technology to further reduce their environmental footprints – from the production of active battery materials to cell production, the modelling of battery downgrading, safety and recycling, Freyr said. 'Strong signal' Freyr president and MD Jan Arve Haugan said financial backing from the NGP "sends a strong signal from the Norwegian authorities that batteries are a key strategic focus area to decarbonise our energy and transportation systems” "Together with the industry partners and the authorities, we will be able to move faster and make an even stronger impact.” Freyr plans to develop up to 43 GWh of battery cell production capacity in Mo i Rana by 2025, with an ambition of up to 83 GWh in total capacity by 2028 to position the company as one of Europe’s largest battery cell suppliers. Related articles in our archive Honeywell and Freyr agree deal on battery cells for energy storage systems Freyr Battery signs sustainable cobalt deal with Glencore International
Umicore has signed an agreement to provide its next-generation battery recycling services for the Automotive Cells Company’s (ACC) planned pilot battery manufacturing plant in Nersac, France. ACC – a consortium of Stellantis, TotalEnergies and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz – said the deal underlines "the importance of a European supply chain for the success of car electrification” in Europe. Umicore’s battery recycling plant in Hoboken, Belgium, which started operating in 2011, has an annual capacity of 7,000 tons of lithium-ion batteries and battery production scrap, which it said is the equivalent of 35,000 EV batteries.   The ACC deal, announced on 11 February, came as Umicore launches its "latest generation” of proprietary recycling technology during the course of this year, which the company said follows "intensive research and piloting activities” and marks "a significant step-up in recycling performance”. 'Minimal waste' Umicore said the process involves a "significantly improved metallurgical process, with increased extraction efficiency of cobalt, nickel and copper to now reach over 95% yield for a wide variety of battery chemistries, with minimal waste and impact” on the environment. Recovered metals will be delivered in battery-grade quality at the end of the Umicore recycling process – allowing them to be recirculated into the production of new Li-ion batteries, the company said. Gilles Tardivo, Nersac pilot plant vice-president, said the facility will test all product and process solutions before mass production in ACC’s future European gigafactories. Meanwhile, Umicore has signed a €500m (£419m) sustainability-linked loan that ties, for the first time, the group’s funding costs to its sustainability performance and has successfully refinanced its existing €300m syndicated credit facility.   Related articles in our archive Bosch and Volkswagen in talks to set up battery cells equipment joint venture Mercedes-Benz joins battery cells consortium ACC as partners pledge to expand output
Lithium Australia (LA), the majority owner of battery recycler Envirostream Australia, has agreed to buy the remaining shares in the company, as the country ramps up efforts to end landfill disposal of used batteries. LA, which owns 90% of Envirostream, said it had agreed indicative terms to acquire the remaining 10% of the company held by Envirostream managing director Andrew Mackenzie. Mackenzie would continue as Envirostream’s managing director if a binding deal is reached – with the completion date set for 1 March 2022, LA said. 'Strategic imperative' The 4 February announcement came after Envirostream received the green light, last December, to open a second battery recycling plant in the state of Victoria. Envirostream, launched in 2017, is the first onshore company to offer mixed battery recycling in Australia.   LA managing director Adrian Griffin said acquiring the outstanding shares in Envirostream was a "strategic imperative” following the launch of a voluntary, industry-led battery stewardship scheme, to boost recycling and end landfill disposal of batteries. 'Sustainability' Envirostream's goal is "to keep spent batteries out of landfill, handle them safely and efficiently and return as much as possible of the critical materials they contain to the battery industry to improve sustainability”, Griffin said. The stewardship scheme, funded by a levy on imported batteries, was proposed by the country’s Battery Stewardship Council (BSC) and approved in 2020 by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The BSC said the scheme covers all types of end-of-life batteries – including primary, light industrial and e-bike batteries – except for automotive lead-acid batteries and batteries already covered by a stewardship or recycling programme. A 2018 report by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, said only 2% of the country's annual 3,300 tonnes of lithium-ion battery waste was recycled. The waste was growing by 20% a year and "could exceed 100,000 tonnes by 2036". Related article in our archive Australia go-ahead for levy-funded battery stewardship plan 'to end landfill disposal'
Mining giant Glencore is teaming up with batteries developer Britishvolt to launch a battery recycling joint venture in the UK. The new business, announced on 3 February, will develop "a world-leading ecosystem for battery recycling in the UK” – based alongside Glencore’s existing Britannia Refined Metals operation in Northfleet, Kent. Glencore and Britishvolt did not disclose their respective stakes in the joint venture, which will process all Britishvolt’s future battery manufacturing scrap from its planned gigafactory in Blyth, north-east England. The recycling plant is set to start up by the middle of next year. It will have a minimum annual processing capacity of 10,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries and be "100% powered by renewable energy in the long term”, the partners said. 'Cost effective' The joint venture will also look to develop other recycling activities at the plant, including the refining of black mass into battery grade raw materials. In addition, the partners aim to research ways to make the recycling of EV batteries "easier and more cost effective, maximising their supply chain value and to influence legislation”. Glencore made an undisclosed investment in Britishvolt last August, as part of a long-term partnership for the supply of responsibly sourced cobalt. Last month, Britishvolt announced an offer of government funding for its gigafactory – together with backing from investors to secure £1.7bn for the project. Related articles in our archive UK pledges funding for Britishvolt as £1.7bn gigafactory investment boost unveiled Glencore invests in UK's Britishvolt as part of long-term cobalt supply partnership