Neometals Ltd (ASX: NMT) has confirmed that Primobius GmbH, the joint venture company owned 50:50 by Neometals and SMS group GmbH, has successfully completed commissioning of its showcase lithium-ion battery (LIB) recycling demonstration plant (DP).
The DP trial on EV LIBs will commence as scheduled in early November to generate data for the feasibility study as well as to demonstrate the safe, efficient, green recycling process to potential feedstock supply and product offtake partners.
The DP, located in Primobius’ leased building within the SMS group manufacturing centre in Hilchenbach, Germany, comprises a Shredding and Beneficiation Circuit (Stage 1) and a Hydrometallurgical Refining Circuit (Stage 2). The Stage 2 leaching, purification and recovery (solvent extraction) circuits have been successfully wet commissioned. Intermediate active material (Black Mass) produced in Stage 1 has been leached, purified and individual sulphate solutions of copper, manganese, cobalt, nickel and lithium recovered sequentially via solvent extraction.
Commissioning of the DP refining circuit clears the path to commence continuous trials on LIB cells and modules sourced from the European EV supply chain. The purpose of the DP trials is to confirm at scale the technical feasibility of the Primobius recycling flowsheet on a continuous, fully integrated basis.
Successful completion will enable the completion of the feasibility study for a 50tpd Primobius recycling operation in the March quarter of 2022. The successful commissioning and operation of the separate 10tpd commercial disposal plant currently under construction will precede any investment decision by Primobius on the larger 50tpd Primobius recycling operation in Germany.
Neometals’ Managing Director, Chris Reed, said the company has several of its Perth-based hydrometallurgical team supervising commissioning of the Stage 2 circuits with the local technical team. Over the coming fortnight the teams will undertake process optimisation activities before the continuous trials in November. The engineering group will also take the opportunity to collate learnings from construction and commissioning for application to the commercial plant design and incorporation into the feasibility study.
This is another important milestone for Primobius. The demonstration trial is the conclusive phase of our evaluation with SMS and represents the key step in bringing our pipeline of potential plants into commercial reality,” Mr Reed said.
“Inbound interest from the global EV supply chain in our efficient, green recycling process is exceptional. This interest coupled with the scalability and deliverability from our partnership with a leading global plant builder in SMS, augurs well for the achievement of our goal to become the leading recycling solution in the Western world.