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Stelco to set up Canadian recycling plant with tech from Primobius

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

The Ontario-based steel company Stelco will set up a combined mechanical and hydrometallurgical plant for recycling of lithium-ion batteries at the company's facility in Nanticoke, 110 kilometetres southwest of Toronto, by the Lake Erie. The plant will have a capacity of 20,000 tonnes of cells per year with the aim to recover 18,400 tonnes of nickel, manganese, cobalt and lithium compounds. The steel maker is also expecting to generate up to 40,000 tonnes of scrap steel which indicates that the company will disassemble packs at the facility. Next step is a detailed engineering study expected to be completed in mid-2022. Operations are expected to commence in 2023.

The technology for the plant will be licensed from Primobius which recently commissioned its mechanical unit in Germany with a capaicy of 10 tonnes per day. The subsequent hydrometallurgical material recovery demonstration unit is yet to be commissioned.

The licensing agreement will enable Stelco to advance commercial lithium-ion battery feedstock sourcing agreements and commence engineering and approvals processes. The option agreement grants Primobius the right to acquire between 25% and 50% equity in Stelco's wholly-owned subsidiary performing these activities. If not exercised by Primobius, Stelco will have the exclusive rights to utilize Primobius's proprietary technology in Canada, the United States and Mexico to recycle lithium-ion batteries removed from end-of-life electric vehicles, and Primobius will be entitled to a gross revenue royalty.

The plant will make Ontario one of the most lithium-ion battery recycling dense regions in the world being host already to Glencore's smelter in Sudbury, Li-Cycle's mechanical processing plant in Kingston and soon Electra Battery Material's cobalt refinery in Temiskaming Shores where black mass is to be processed. Currently there are around 70,000 electric vehicles in Ontario.

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