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Eramet inaugurates battery-recycling pilot plant near Paris

| By Mary Bailey

Eramet (Paris) is inaugurating a pilot plant at its Research & Innovation center close to Paris (Trappes) to test and optimize the production of battery-grade metal salts from black mass from recycled lithium-ion batteries.

This facility is a 1:1,000 scale replica of the plant due to be built in Dunkirk, with start-up scheduled for 2027, subject to a final investment decision expected by the end of 2024.

The creation of this pilot plant is a key stage for this project carried out in partnership with SUEZ and aiming to offer a closed-loop industrial recycling solution for end-of-life batteries and scrap from the production of new batteries.

Thanks to its expertise in hydrometallurgy, Eramet’s Research & Innovation Centre, which employs 200 researchers and engineers, has developed a process that can infinitely recycle more than 90% of the strategic metals (nickel, cobalt, lithium) contained in the blackmass of end-of-life batteries and in scrap from gigafactory production.

The high-purity metal salts obtained by this process and produced in Dunkirk will be used to supply the European electric battery industry, helping to reduce the continent’s dependence on the import of critical metals.

The 800 m² pilot plant will be used to test and optimise the extraction and refining process for these metals on a pre-industrial scale, and to qualify the end products for future customers and partners.

This project has received €80 million in financial support from the European Union’s Innovation Fund and BPI France, through its “Critical Metals Call for Projects”, part of France 2030 program. These funds will be used to finance pre-industrialisation studies, plant construction and operating costs for the first 10 years of operation.

“After developing one of the most efficient direct lithium extraction technologies in the world, our Research and Innovation Centre is once again demonstrating its excellence and expertise in the hydrometallurgy of critical metals. This technological advance positions us, with our partner SUEZ, as tomorrow’s leaders in the recovery of “urban mines”, the millions of electric batteries that need to be recycled and recovered in Europe,” Christel Bories, Chairman and CEO of Eramet.