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Firms partner to ensure traceability of battery materials from mine to EV

Wed, 11/24/2021 - 14:18 -- Paul Crompton

US-based processor of battery grade graphite, and block chain firm Circulor have formed a strategic partnership to ensure “transparency and accountability” in sourcing and processing graphite for us in advanced batteries.​

Urbix will use Circulor’s technology to track and trace its graphite as it goes from mine to battery to electric vehicles by tracking the composition of the graphite and its chemistry rather than relying on traditional methods like shipment paperwork.​

The scheme goes beyond traceability in the processing and manufacturing stages to track and trace raw materials as they are processed and moved through the battery supply chain. 

Phase one of the partnership will establish the full chain of custody and traceability.

Over the long-term, the partnership aims to expand to include graphite mines and create a network of companies that can provide traceability and accountability assurances across a larger share of the battery supply chain. 

Dr. Palash Gangopadhyay, chief technical officer, Urbix said: “Before, it was very difficult to track the path minerals like graphite took before ending up in a battery. 

“It was even harder to say with certainty how the materials were sourced and processed.”

​Collaborative partnership

In October, Australian mining firm Blackstone Minerals announced a collaborative partnership with Circulor to establish a full nickel and cathode precursor (PCAM) traceability system, for its Vietnam Ta Khoa Assets.​

​Environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics include CO2 intensity, biodiversity impact, water use and energy mix.

Circulor and Blackstone will work together to demonstrate a reliable chain of custody, using Traceability-as-a-Service (TaaS) technology to provide the Company with the ability to communicate the ESG “passport” of its products and operations with downstream customers

Commodity trading company Trafigura and Circulor signed a Master Services Agreement to provide traceability and CO2 tracking for the former’s nickel and cobalt trading division at the beginning of Ocober.

Under the agreement, the firms will develop a programme to track “dynamically” and attribute CO2 emissions throughout Trafigura’s nickel and cobalt supply chains for customers, in particular electric vehicle manufacturers.  

The firm’s are working separately, to support Trafigura’s responsible sourcing and traceability programme to support the physical tracking and tracing of material, as well as the communication of ESG data.

These projects complement the work of the Finnish Minerals Group (FMG) and Circulor at the Terrafame nickel and cobalt mine in Finland to advance the industrial deployment of traceability and emissions tracking for FMG, its portfolio companies and its automotive sector customers.  

Circulor  first conducted a pilot in 2018 on the tracing of tantalum from Rwanda in partnership with the Rwandan Mining, Petroleum and Gas Board. 

Circulor’s portfolio of clients include nickel and cobalt miners such as Australia’s  BHP Group and Fortescue Metals Group, service providers such as Swiss firm Société Générale de Surveillance,  and automotive OEMs including Volvo Cars, Daimler, Jaguar Land Rover and Polestar.

Circulor did not respond to BEST questions regarding how the company's technology works from mine to battery.

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