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September 27, 2021

The Metals Company converts seafloor nodules into battery metals alloy

The firm intends to build a full-scale metallurgical processing plant to produce critical battery metals.

The Metals Company (TMC), formerly DeepGreen Metals , has successfully converted seafloor nodules from its pilot smelting campaign into alloy comprising critical battery metals.

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For the campaign, TMC partnered with Expert Process Solutions (XPS) and received support from Hatch and Optimize Group.

The company said that it used a custom process derived from conventional nickel flowsheets for the pilot smelting project to segregate the nodules’ base metals into two concentrated streams.

These include an alloy containing critical metals essential for EV batteries and wiring, including nickel, cobalt, and copper; and a manganese silicate that can be sold direct to market and further processed to manganese alloy.

TMC onshore development head Dr Jeffrey Donald said: “From a metallurgical perspective, nodules are a great feedstock to work with.

“They have high grades of valuable metals, few impurities, low variability, and come in shapes and sizes that make them very easy to handle, significantly reducing the cost and complexity of the processing.”

The company said that the new derivative brings it one step closer to realising its plan to build a full-scale metallurgical processing plant.

The plant is expected to contribute to the company’s aim to eliminate solid waste streams and harmful tailings and residues associated with conventional land-based metal mining and production.

TMC chairman and CEO Gerard Barron said: “These encouraging results show that nodules could provide an attractive alternative to land-based ores for securing high-volumes of the critical metals needed to achieve energy independence.

“With the potential to ship them anywhere in the world for processing, nodules could help solve national supply needs for important metals like nickel and manganese.”

The Metals Company is engaged in exploring lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules.

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How is the Mining industry adopting electric technologies?

As miners strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, many, particularly those with underground mines, are beginning to invest in battery-powered and electric-powered mining fleets. As of March 2022, GlobalData was tracking 207 trolley assist trucks operating on surface mines across the globe. Based on our analysis, the largest population of trolley assist trucks was in Zambia, followed by Namibia and Panama. In the same time frame, GlobalData was also tracking 157 electric loaders (LHDs) and 45 electric trucks operating in underground mines across the globe. Our analysis revealed that the combined largest population of electric LHDs and trucks was in Canada, followed by Russia, Sweden and Australia. Our report provides:
  • A summary of specific battery/electric surface and underground equipment – namely trolley trucks, underground mining trucks and underground LHDs
  • Active population of trolley assist and battery-powered trucks worldwide by country & mine
  • Active electric LHDs and trucks population worldwide by country & mine
  • Number of electric LHDs & trucks operated by miner
Download this report to better understand the rise of electric vehicles in mining and pinpoint investment opportunities.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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