Lithium-ion battery recycler Li-Cycle and commodities company Glencore said they are planning to set up a hub in southern Italy to make critical battery materials. They would include nickel, cobalt and lithium from recycled batteries.
The pair expect it to be the largest producer of sustainable battery grade products in Europe.
They foresee annual processing capacity of 50 – 70,000 tonnes of black mass, the equivalent of up to 36GWh of lithium-ion batteries. The black mass processed at the Portovesme Hub is expected to be supplied from Li-Cycle’s and Glencore’s own networks.
The Portovesme Hub, to be sited on Sardinia, will use Li-Cycle’s hydrometallurgical technology. The Portovesme metallurgical complex consists of a lead-zinc smelter and hydrometallurgical facility. It first started operations in 1929. The site has substantial existing infrastructure, they said. This includes access to a port, utilities, processing equipment from the hydrometallurgical plant and an experienced workforce.
Li-Cycle and Glencore will proceed to construction with commissioning of the Portovesme Hub expected in late 2026 to early 2027. It is subject to a feasibility study. They plan to form a 50-50 joint venture.
Glencore’s Global Head of Recycling, Kunal Sinha, said the Portovesme site could become its first asset to produce battery-grade lithium.