The lithium-ion battery shredding facility produces powder containing critical metals that are then exported for refining.
Lithium Australia sees an opportunity to apply its hydrometallurgical flow sheet for processing powders in development to the powder produced by Envirostream.
Furthermore, this product could potentially feed Lithium Australia’s Brisbane pilot plant, which produces cathode powders.
Lithium Australia expects to complete the design of its flow sheet for the hydrometallurgical recovery of metals from lithium-ion batteries later this year.
Government tailwinds, Australia only reprocesses 3% its batteries
Recycling such materials onshore could augment the federal government’s Critical Minerals Strategy, formally launched in March 2019.
That strategy, while strongly focused on raw materials and supply chains, acknowledges the impact of innovation in processing to recover not only primary metals but also a range of by-products.
Lithium Australia’s managing director Adrian Griffin said: “Sustainable and ethical supply of critical materials is a global challenge.
“Maximizing the recycling of ALL battery metals, something rarely done effectively, is a target we have achieved in university-controlled testing.
“We have not limited ourselves to lithium ion batteries, but have included alkaline batteries with the aim of eliminating all such spent items from landfill.
“We are cognizant of the environmental implications of burying such “waste” and encourage all users of these products to join with us and recycle for the future benefit of the environment.
“And we have a message for OEMS as well – we have a plan, we have the ability and we have the solution to your long-awaited battery stewardship requirements.”
Battery collection is a barrier to entry
Australia’s failure to achieve adequate battery-recycling rates has been exacerbated by inadequate collection networks.
Envirostream, which has considerable experience in battery collection, will roll out its own collection strategy to deal with the rapidly increasing quantity of spent batteries nationally.