Anglo-Swiss company Glencore has teamed up with Moroccan mining firm Managem to produce cobalt from recycled battery materials, including nickel, cobalt and lithium.
According to the firms’ plan, the battery materials would be recycled at Managem’s Compagnie de Tifnout Tiranimine (CTT) hydrometallurgical refinery, located near Marrakech, Morocco.
The partnership is subject to a feasibility study, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year’s first quarter.
The study aims to assess the commercial viability of using the CTT plant for the project, as well as focus on recoveries and carbon footprint.
In the case of a positive study outcome, Glencore and Managem’s CTT hydrometallurgical refinery plan to sign a five-year tolling agreement for recycling lithium carbonate, nickel hydroxide and around 1,200 tonnes of cobalt a year.
Managem chairman and CEO Imad Toumi said: “Demand for cobalt is expected to increase significantly in the next decade, largely driven by the green energy transition, most actors in the supply chain seek to ensure sustainably sourced materials, and we strongly believe that recycling will play a crucial role in addressing this demand.”
Glencore will provide cobalt-containing black mass to the modified CTT plant.
The black mass is a cobalt, lithium and nickel-bearing feedstock. It will be procured from Glencore’s operations in Sudbury, Canada, and Nikkelverk, Norway.
Managem will provide the recycling technology while Glencore will be responsible for the marketing of recycled products.
Glencore cobalt trader head David Brocas said: “As the world seeks to address the challenge of climate change, primary/recycled cobalt and other future-facing commodities are set to play a pivotal role in decarbonising energy consumption and delivering the electric vehicle revolution.”
Recently, Glencore completed the takeover of the Cerrejon coal mine in Colombia from joint venture (JV) partners BHP and Anglo American.