American Battery Metals Corporation has entered a collaborative agreement to develop methods to manufacture nickel and cobalt in the US with fellow lithium battery materials firm Global Energy Metals Corporation (GEMC).
The partnership aims to develop a new process for producing battery cathode grade nickel and cobalt metal sulfates from Nevada, US-based resources held by GEMC.
Work will consist of thermodynamic analytic modelling, bench-scale empirical trials, and techno-economic analyses to quantify the competitiveness of the developed process flow sheets against market conditions.
The collaboration follows two years of research by American Battery Metals Corporations (ABTC) to develop an in-house process to manufacture battery-grade lithium from domestic Nevada-based resources.
ABTC’s process is needed because the majority of brine and surface sedimentary deposits in Nevada are considered unconventional due to concentrations of lithium, and the mechanisms by which the lithium is deposited within these host sites, are different than established commercial-scale lithium product manufacturing sites.
As a result, applying existing conventional process flow sheet technologies to these resources would have resulted in uneconomic extraction and conversion processes.
The work is in conjunction with ABTC’s lithium-ion battery recycling pilot plant in Fernley, Nevada, which is nearing the final pre-construction, permitting stage.
You can read more about the recycling plant in an interview BEST conducted with ABTC HERE
Secured mining claims
The partnership comes in the same week ABTC announced it had secured 305 unpatented lode-mining claims covering around 6,100 acres of land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) near Tonopah, Nevada.
The agreement is in the form of an exclusive exploration license through which ABTC has the sole authority to conduct its surveying, sampling, and proprietary extraction trials to characterise the resources and to quantify the performance of the lithium extraction and manufacturing operations.
After concluding its trials and internal assessment of these resources, ABTC has the exclusive option to purchase these lithium-bearing claims.
In April 2020, American Lithium published a resource assessment of its 7,500 acre TLC project, which directly borders these ABTC secured claims.
The assessment stated the site had a measured and indicated resource of 5.37 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE), with an additional 1.76 million tonnes LCE inferred.
ABTC CEO and CTO Ryan Melsert said: “The construction and commissioning of our lithium-ion battery recycling pilot facility remains our primary focus, however the magnitude of the entire battery recycling industry combined cannot meet the nearly insatiable near-term demand for these critical and strategic battery metals on its own.
“These recycling facilities must be supplemented by low-cost, low-environmental impact, and domestic primary battery metal manufacturing facilities in order to establish a truly secure closed-loop circular battery metals supply chain.”