Mining company Glencore has signed two recycling partnerships in as many weeks as the Anglo-Swiss firm looks to introduce “responsibly-sourced” battery grade cobalt to the manufacturing ecosystem.
Both partnerships aim to deliver lithium-ion materials from used batteries and the battery manufacturing process.
The first deal aims to produce battery materials from recycled cobalt, nickel and lithium at Managem’s Moroccan CTT Hydrometallurgical Refinery at Guemssa, near Marrakech.
Glencore and CTT intend to enter into a five-year tolling agreement for c.1.2kt of recycled cobalt per year as well as nickel hydroxide and lithium carbonate.
Imad Toumi, chairman & CEO of Managem, said: “Demand for cobalt is expected to increase significantly in the next decade, largely driven by the green energy transition; most actors in the supply chain seek to ensure sustainably-sourced materials and we strongly believe that recycling will play a crucial role in addressing this demand.”
The partnership is conditional on a feasibility study to assess the commercial viability of modifying and deploying the CTT Refinery for recovering cobalt, nickel and lithium from black mass.
The feasibility study will focus on achieving high recoveries and a low carbon footprint, with the facility using at least 90% power generated from wind farms.
It is expected to be completed by the end of March.
Glencore will source and recycle cobalt and nickel bearing products at its Canadian and Norwegian operations to supply cobalt containing black mass to the CTT refinery.
Glencore will market the recycled products to its global network of portable electronics and automotive customers.
Both Glencore and Managem participate in the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) Assurance Process for cobalt.
European supply chain
The second deal will see Glencore supply its strategic partner Britishvolt with responsibly sourced cobalt via a UK based recycling plant at the former’s Britannia Refined Metals (BRM) operation in Northfleet, Kent.
Once complete, the partnership’s first battery recycling facility in the UK could have a processing capacity of 10,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries per year— with plans to include the refining of black mass into battery grade raw materials in the future.
The facility will process all Britishvolt’s battery manufacturing scrap from their planned gigafactory in Blyth, UK.
The facility is expected to be operational by mid-2023 with the long-term aim of being 100% powered by renewable energy.
David Brocas, head cobalt trader at Glencore, said: “This recycling partnership complements our long-term supply agreement for responsible cobalt from our operations in Norway and the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Last month, Electra Battery Materials Corporation signed a five-year cobalt contract and amended the previously concluded cobalt hydroxide feed purchase agreement with Glencore.