Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) and Envirostream Australia will combine their recycling resources as part of a strategy to become Australia’s only listed lithium-ion battery recycling entity – with the restructured business unit scheduled to begin trading on the ASX mid-next year.
The increased exposure to battery recycling is part of Lithium Australia’s push to create a seamlessly integrated lithium mining, processing, battery manufacturing and recycling business using non-conventional feed sources such as lithium mica waste and spent batteries.
According to Lithium Australia, the integrated business units effectively close the loop in the energy metal cycle in order to provide industry with “ethical and sustainable” supply.
“Our plan to create greater opportunities for shareholders and potential investors began with increasing our equity in Envirostream,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said.
“We see the recycling of spent batteries as a significant opportunity, given the increased legislative and community focus on environmental responsibility.”
He added Envirostream’s existing business model combined with Lithium Australia’s metal extraction technologies would create a “perfect symbiosis”.
In addition to advancing the recycling technology division, Lithium Australia continues to grow its other business units.
The company noted as these other units approach commercialisation, the company would adopt a similar approach “in the interests of [its] shareholders”.
This plan will enable future investors to select which business units they choose to put their money into.
Envirostream investment and collaboration
Last week, Lithium Australia reported it had upped its equity in Envirostream to 23.9%.
The increased interest in Envirostream follows Lithium Australia’s success earlier this month in producing “high quality cathode” material from spent batteries.
Envirostream had collected, shredded and separated spent lithium-ion batteries. The separated material was then converted into a mixed metal dust.
This is where Lithium Australia stepped in with its proprietary technology.
In conjunction with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Lithium Australia used its refining technology to generate a 99% pure lithium phosphate from the mixed metal dust.
Converting spent material into a new battery
The lithium phosphate was then shipped to Lithium Australia’s wholly-owned VSPC pilot plant in Brisbane.
There, VSPC used its proprietary nanotechnology to refine the material into a lithium-ferro-phosphate cathode.
The cathode material was then used to create 2032 coin cell lithium-ion batteries, which where electrochemically tested and found to exceed VSPC’s own internal standard.
Lithium Australia has now blended the recycled cathode material with a newly created lithium-ferro-phosphate.
The blended material is currently being incorporated as cathodes in larger, commercial-format (18650) battery cells at DLG’s plant in China.
These cells will then be evaluated for performance.
To advance the commercial prospects of this process, Lithium Australia is in discussions with Chinese manufacturers to establish a supply chain for its cathode material made from spent batteries.
DLG and Lithium Australia have also established Soluna Australia Pty Ltd to supply battery products to Australia’s domestic energy storage industry.
In addition to its proprietary technologies, Lithium Australia owns exploration projects hosting non-conventional lithium mineralisation, including the Sadisdorf project in Germany.
At present, Lithium Australia is revising the orebody model for Sadisdorf.
The company is also negotiating third party involvement in its WA exploration assets.
Lithium Australia has identified potential for using its LieNA® process to recover lithium from fine-spodumene tailings produced by lithium miners.
A number of lithium-concentrate producers are in discussions with Lithium Australia regarding the technology’s potential in improving lithium recovery and utilisation at their existing spodumene operations.
In early afternoon trade, Lithium Australia’s shares were steady at $0.045.