Electra Battery Materials, previously known as First Cobalt, has signed a supply agreement with the Japanese trading house Marubeni under which Marubeni will supply Electra with black mass from its network of recyclers, and Electra will sell cobalt sulphate into the Japanese battery value chain.
The agreement, which still is a memorandum of understanding, will enable Marubeni to strike deals with recyclers in both Asia and elsewhere while Electra get access to black mass to process in its facility which is expected to be commissioned in 2023. Marubeni signed such an agreement with Retriev in 2021.Electra will commission its cobalt refinery with the aim to be first producer of battery grade cobalt chemicals in North America.
The deal is also another example of how the Japanese trading houses, so called sogo shosha, get involved in the battery value chain with focus on reuse and recycling. Sumitomo is an investor in second life specialist Connected Energy and in the Nissan remanufacturing joint venture 4R, Mitsui has invested in charging and ESS integrator House of Mobility as well as the battery system producer Forsee Power and facilitates leasing of bus batteries for Proterra. Itoshu has invested in the second life specialist Pandpower and has signed a sourcing agreement with Primobius while Toyota Toshu recently invested in Aceleron.
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