In a key milestone to its plans of creating a circular battery economy, Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) has upped its stake in Envirostream from 23.9% to 73.7%.
Envirostream is the only company within Australia that is capable of recycling all energy metals from spent lithium-ion batteries.
It collects, sorts, shreds and separates all components of the spent batteries to create a mixed metal dust comprising lithium, cobalt and nickel.
Earlier this month, Envirostream revealed it had collared a deal to increase its supply of mixed metal dust to Korean-based SungEel Hitech for processing into battery chemicals.
According to Lithium Australia, Envirostream’s capabilities make it a “perfect fit” with Lithium Australia’s battery metal extraction expertise.
Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said expanding the company’s ownership of Envirostream gave it a “key position” in battery metal recycling in addition to providing an environmental solution to Australians.
“Together, Lithium Australia and Envirostream are developing environmentally responsible solutions to the mounting problems of spent batteries. Keeping spent batteries from landfill and exporting the energy metals they contain is an Australian imperative,” Mr Griffin noted.
He added closing the loop on battery material production reduces the environmental footprint across the battery metal value chain including boosting sustainability, preventing spent batteries from leaking into groundwater and oceans or being transported to other jurisdictions.
“Envirostream can provide an immediate and viable solution to the lithium-ion battery disposal crisis in this country,” Mr Griffin said.
During the 2019 financial year, Envirostream generated $1.3 million in revenue from recycling 149t of spent batteries.
As part of increasing its stake in Envirostream, Lithium Australia made a $100,000 payment to the company.
Envirostream has used some of the funds to commission its expanded processing facility in Melbourne, which now has the capacity to recycle up to 3,000 tonnes per annum of batteries.
The first mixed metal dust has been generated from Envirostream’s expanded plant, which is undergoing ramp up and optimisation activities.
Envirostream expects to ship its to SungEel for refining later this month.
Meanwhile, Envirostream’s board will enjoy a shake up with Mr Griffin to be appointed non-executive chairman, while Andrew Skalski will join as a non-executive director.
Envirostream’s founder Andrew Mackenzie will remain as managing director.