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Glencore and Li-Cycle in joint venture to build hydrometallurgcial plant in Italy

The Swiss mining company Glencore, which is also one of the largest reyclers of lithium-ion batteries in Europe and North America has signed a letter of intent with Li-Cycle to jointly establish a hydrometallurgical plant for battery recycling on Sardinia in Italy.

The plant will Located in Sardinia, Italy, where Glencore today operate a the Portovesme a lead-zinc smelter with a hydrometallurgical facility which first started operations in 1929. Part of this complex is set to be reporposed for the new plant.

Li-Cycle and Glencore will jointly commence a definitive feasibility studyfor this project within 60 days from this announcement. The study is expected to be completed by mid-2024. Subject to a final investment decision by the parties, the project will proceed to construction with commissioning of the new facility expected to commence in late 2026 to early 2027.

As part of the agreement Li-Cycle and Glencore also anticipate forming a 50/50 joint venture. The project also contemplates competitive long-term financing from Glencore to fund Li-Cycle’s share of the capital investment. Glencore has already today invested $200 million in Li-Cycle.

Once operational, the Portovesme Hub is expected to have processing capacity of up to 50,000 to 70,000 tonnes of black mass annually, or the equivalent of up to 36 GWh of lithium-ion batteries. The black mass processed at the Portovesme Hub is expected to be supplied from Li-Cycle’s growing pre-processing network in Europe and through Glencore’s commercial network. Only a month ago Glencore announced a partnership with Spanish Iberdrola to build a pre-processing plant in Spain or Portugal and the company has also announced plans to repurpose its lead smelter Brittanica in Kent, the UK, to process lithium-ion batteries. Li-Cycle is building pre-processing plants in Germany, France and Norway.

The size of the planned operation will be similar to what Umicore previously has announced and will definately make it to one of the largest plants of its kind in Europe.

Circular Energy Storage will soon publish a deep take on the recycling market where we will provide more detail and analysis on the development of capacity and technology.

More about the Italy facility here.

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