German non-ferrous metal company Aurubis is investing in lithium-ion battery recycling. The company announced that it is commissioning a new pilot plant at its Hamburg site after the successful conclusion of lab-scale tests of the process. Aurubis has developed a special process to recover metals from black mass and registered it for a patent. A subsequent step will be a € 200 million investment for an industrial-scale battery recycling plant.
Aurubis is a large non-ferrous metal producer and one of the largest recyclers of copper in the world. The company has an large network of smelters through which it process both primary and secondary feed material. The company has not least a strong position in recycling of electronic scrap, an area where it competes with Umicore, Glencore, Dowa, Boliden and others. The company's process have been focused around smelting but in 2021 to Aurubis started to invest in hydrometallurgical processing for refining of anode sludge from its copper recycling, through which it can extract gold, silver and tin.
The investment in battery recycling comes as Aurubis is making further investments in a facility Olen, Belgium for recovery of nickel and other key metals.
The investment in lithium-ion battery recycling does not really come as a surprise as Aurubuis quite openly have been pointing out the segment as a grow area for the company. The strong position in waste from electric appliances and electronics has gives both a good visibility and a network which is important also in the battery field. Aurubis has not yet shared details on capacity and throughput.
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