Ontario-based Electra Battery Materials which is about to commission its first battery recycling plant in 2023 has signed an off-take agreement with Glencore for nickel and cobalt precipitates. The material will be processed in Glencore's Nikkelverk plant in Kristiansand in Norway where the material will be turned into nickel and cobalt metal.
The off-take agreement covers 2023 and 2024 when Electra has commissioned its first step of a hydrometallurgical plant which will process black mass through a leaching and co-precipitation process and turn it into 2,000 metric tonnes of mixed hydroxide precipitate per year from approximately 4,500 tonnes of black mass. The plant which is set to cost $3M is taking advantage of existing technology aimed for production of primary material by the company. Electra claims to have established relationships with more than 30 black mass producers and expects to work with up to four providers to supply feed to its refinery. Under the agreement, Glencore AG will purchase the nickel and cobalt products until the end of 2024 on market-based terms.
The deal is likely only temporary as the next step is to produce cobalt and nickel sulphates which can be sold directly into the commodity market.
Glencore is through its smelter in Sudbury, Ontario already the largest processor of black mass in North America and is also processing a significant amount of black mass from European pre-processors. After smelting in Sudbury, which usually requires that the material is calcined, the material will be shipped as a matte to Nikkelverk in Kristiansand, Norway. In the case of Electra, the material is expected to go directly to Kristiansand which also means that the material will not be pyrometallurgically processed unless it has been part of the original black mass production.