Battery metals producer Lifezone Metals has entered a term sheet to set up a JV with a Glencore unit to recycle platinum, palladium and rhodium in the US.

Also called PGMs, these metals will be recycled using Lifezone’s hydrometallurgical technology.

As per the term sheet, the recycling JV will be domiciled in the US and implemented in two phases to recover PGMs from spent automotive catalytic converters.

The aim is to profitably produce highly pure, refined PGMs from 100% recycled sources.

Lifezone will use its Hydromet technology in the confirmatory piloting first phase work, which has started in Perth, Australia, and is due to conclude in Q1 2024.

The estimated cost of the first phase is $3m (£2.37m), with the confirmatory programme to be co-funded by Lifezone and Glencore.

Based on the test results from the pilot project, a feasibility study will be conducted to estimate the metal recoveries, the capital and operating expenditure and project economies.

Depending on the results from the initial phase, a decision to proceed to the second phase will be taken.

The initial cost of the commercial-scale recycling facility, to be built under the second phase, is estimated at between $15m and $20m. The facility is expected to have an annual capacity of around 115,000oz.

The working capital for the second-phase recycling facility will be provided by Glencore, which will also act as the sole offtaker and marketer of the refined PGMs.

Lifezone CEO Chris Showalter said: “In Glencore, we have a world-class partner with exceptional market reach to help position our US recycling joint venture favourably with respect to financing and marketing of finished PGMs. We expect our confirmatory pilot programme to further validate our Hydromet capabilities and demonstrate that we can also generate favourable economic returns from PGM recycling.

“Further, the facility we intend to build is highly replicable and scalable, which is important given the very large and rapidly growing addressable market we expect in the years ahead.”

In July 2023, Lifezone made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange after completing its merger with special purpose acquisition company GoGreen Investments.