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Eramet and Suez make progress in LIB-recycling cooperation

| By Mary Bailey

Eramet Group (Paris, France) has successfully demonstrated its high-yield, closed-loop process for recycling lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) — a major step toward achieving industrial-scale production in France. The recycling process recovers all the valuable metals contained in LIBs, which meets the requirements of forthcoming European regulations.

On the strength of the technical maturity achieved over several years of research and development, the group has decided to launch industrialization studies in early 2022 to develop an integrated recycling solution covering the entire value chain from the dismantling of batteries to the production of nickel, cobalt and lithium salts suitable for the manufacture of new batteries.

Eramet and SUEZ signed a new partnership agreement last February to strengthen their cooperation, enabling them to initiate the pre-industrial phase, which involves the recovery of LIBs from electric vehicles. Depending on the outcome of this pre industrial phase, Eramet and Suez plan to build a LIB recycling plant in France by 2024 to produce black mass, a metal concentrate (nickel, cobalt, manganese, lithium and graphite) suitable for hydrometallurgical refining.

For the refining steps, Eramet has started the construction of a pre-industrial demonstrator within its research and innovation center, an essential step to pave the way for the commercial phase. This demonstrator will optimize the efficiency of the recycling process and will address the requirements of future customers and partners by drawing on the Group’s expertise in metals extraction process engineering and its operational expertise in hydrometallurgy.

Eramet and Suez are continuing their assessment process to select the best location for this future recycling activity in France.

Based on the results of these development steps, as well as economic conditions, an industrial  phase could be launched as early as 2024 for the black mass production step, and by 2025-2026 for refining the black mass into battery-grade products.