Electra Battery Materials Corporation, known as Electra, has recently shared an update on its groundbreaking battery materials recycling trial at the Ontario refinery complex. The company announced significant advancements in the recovery of lithium, nickel, cobalt, and other critical minerals, marking a notable improvement in the quality of saleable products from black mass recycling.
The trial, focused on plant-scale black mass processing, is nearing completion. Electra is preparing an internal report that will detail the proprietary methodologies employed, alongside various optimizations and potential for modular growth within its operations.
Electra’s CEO, Trent Mell, highlighted the trial’s success, stating, “Throughout this 12-month demonstration operation, our team has continued to refine and optimize the processes resulting in successive improvements to the saleable products.” This progress supports Electra’s goal to incorporate its battery materials recycling technology into its refinery operations significantly.
Key advancements from the trial include a near 20% improvement in lithium carbonate product quality, now nearing technical grade levels. Electra has also achieved a manganese recovery rate of approximately 95% and has seen improvements in nickel-cobalt mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) concentration, reaching nearly 50% for nickel and cobalt. These enhancements not only improve the quality of recycled materials but also the economic viability of continuous recycling operations.
Electra’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its ongoing optimization studies, including efforts to reuse tailings water as process water, thereby minimizing environmental impacts. The company’s proprietary hydrometallurgical technology aims to recover all critical minerals from black mass, offering a sustainable alternative to traditional pyrometallurgical smelting processes.
Since launching the black mass trial in late 2022, Electra has processed 40 tonnes of black mass material, making it a pioneer in North American battery recycling. The trial has led to improved recovery rates for targeted metals and the shipment of approximately 28 tonnes of nickel-cobalt MHP product to customers.
Electra’s approach contrasts with existing North American battery recycling methods, which often involve exporting black mass or using less environmentally friendly smelting processes. As a processor of low-carbon, ethically sourced battery materials, Electra is uniquely positioned to support the onshoring of the electric vehicle supply chain, integrating black mass recycling, and nickel sulfate production into its operations. For more information about Electra and its initiatives, visit www.ElectraBMC.com.