Battery recycling firm Primobius, the German company owned by Neometals and SMS group, has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Slovakian lithium-ion cell maker InoBat.
The MoU provides an evaluation framework for a Primobius-InoBat commercial lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Central/Eastern Europe.
If agreed, the JV will initially see InoBat cooperate on InoBat battery production pilot recycling before processing larger volumes from commercial operations in 2024.
Primobius and InoBat have commenced business-planning activities and will work progressively towards definitive legal agreements for the proposed JV.
Initial processing of InoBat pilot battery production scrap would occur in a recycling ‘spoke’ (a surrounding community that feeds battery scrap to a hub) facility.
This could be followed by the hydrometallurgical refining of black mass from the ‘spoke’ output to generate battery cathode raw materials at a ‘hub’ facility.
Primobius is actively seeking to secure feed sources and off-take partners for future commercial operations.
InoBat is a member of the IPM Group of companies, focusing mainly on infrastructure and technology related investments in Europe, primarily in Slovakia, where it is establishing lithium-ion battery demonstration and production lines for the electric vehicle sector.
Australian firm Neometals’ managing director Chris Reed said: “Primobius is very well placed to capitalise on the push for domestically sourced supply chains and this deal with InoBat is a material endorsement of the business plan.”
In June 2020 InoBat acquired the site for its proposed 100MWh production pilot line in Bratislava, Slovakia, to manufacture stacked lithium-ion pouch cells mainly for electric vehicles. Manufacturing is scheduled to begin at the end of 2021.
The gradual expansion of the production capacity of cells with an annual capacity of 10GWh is planned by 2024.