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Lithium Australia Recycles Lithium from Spent Batteries

Metal News - Published on Tue, 20 Aug 2019

Image Source: Small Caps
Battery minerals developer Lithium Australia has found a way to recover lithium from spent lithium-ion batteries, offering a sustainable solution to the major recycling challenge of batteries being disposed in landfill. The company announced it has successfully produced refined lithium phosphate using spent lithium-ion batteries as a feedstock and is now using the recycled LP to produce new lithium-ferro-phosphate cathode powder.

This LFP powder will then be used to make coin cells to test performance of “re-birthed” cathode materials.

In addition, the process recovered other battery metals including nickel and cobalt in a concentrate form that would make them suitable for commercial refining.

According to Lithium Australia managing director Mr Adrian Griffin, few recycling operations around the world can currently recover lithium from lithium-ion batteries, meaning the company’s process has the potential to not only “improve the sustainability” of lithium-ion batteries but also “ease future supply constraints that may prove problematic to the industry”.

Speaking with Small Caps, Mr Griffin said current mining plus planned projects and expansions will not meet long-term consumption needs and alternative sources of lithium “may prove more attractive as genuine supply shortages put pressure on conventional production.” He said by 2030, about 3.5 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent will be required each year for use in electric vehicles alone, yet global lithium production is currently at around 200,000 tonne per annum.

Mr Griffin said that “We can’t afford to throw large quantities of lithium away for the longer term, or any of the other battery minerals for that matter, and we need to see more recycling.”

He pointed out that only about 9% of lithium-ion batteries are currently recycled on a global basis, and despite Australians considering themselves “so environmentally-conscious”, we are pushing hard to get over the 3% mark.

He added that “We’re an incredibly wasteful society and what we’ve got to do is get more of that material back into the supply chain, and that of course will alleviate the requirements for new material.”

To fill this forecasted supply shortage, Lithium Australia has been utilising its battery recycling and proprietary processing technologies to develop ways to recycle lithium chemicals from waste materials such as spent lithium-ion batteries, lithium mine tailings and other lithium minerals including lepidolite and petalite.



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Posted By : Amom Remju on Tue, 20 Aug 2019
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