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Neometals completes class-five scoping study on lithium-ion battery recycling technology in Canadian pilot plant

The process recovers cobalt, nickel, copper and lithium as high-purity sulphate products with estimated operating costs of less than US$7/lb of contained cobalt as cobalt sulphate, before by-product credits.

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High-level flowsheet showing material generated from FEED preparation and hydrometallurgical processing facilities

Neometals Ltd (ASX:NMT) has completed the Association for Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE) class-five scoping study on its lithium-ion battery recycling technology in its Canadian pilot plant.

Primero Group Ltd was engaged to complete the study which determined operating and capital costs based on the company’s bench-scale test work as well as the associated mass and energy balances prepared by Strategic Metallurgy Ltd.

Neometals is encouraged by the outcomes of the study which indicate robust economics.

The study supports Neometals’ strategy to target the growing need for sustainable recycling solutions as the worldwide adoption of LIBs continues to grow.

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Neometals managing director Chris Reed said the company was pleased with the economic outcomes of the scoping study on the new flowsheet.

He said: “It is a credit to our project team and our consulting engineers – we have proved the efficacy of our process at the bench scale and continue to de-risk and optimise in the current pilot plant in Canada.

“We have invested in a true ‘recycling’ solution rather than base metal recovery process.

“It has been engineered for real world conditions and recovers multiple high-purity chemical products from an array of battery chemistries.

“We look forward to successfully completing the pilot plant test work in Canada to prove the technical feasibility and economic viability.

“In parallel we will accelerate our commercialisation discussions with major players in the global lithium battery supply chain.”

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The results from this study allows Neometals to advance commercial dialogues in parallel with preparations for detailed engineering and cost studies.

The study concluded that a 50-tonne per day battery feed was a more efficient scale for initial commercial operation.

It assumes a selling price of US$6,151 a tonne for cobalt sulphate, US$2,030 a tonne for copper sulphate, US$5,000 for lithium sulphate and US$3,298 for nickel sulphate.

Strong progress is also being made Neometals’ lithium-ion battery (LIB) pilot.

The company will use data and learnings from the pilot to estimate the cost to build and operate a commercial-scale recycling plant to a higher level of accuracy in an AACE class-three feasibility study.

The feasibility study is set to begin early in the 2019/2020 financial year.

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