American Manganese (TSX.V: AMY) is seeing the payoff of its efforts to develop a technology capable of recycling cathode material and generating products for lithium-ion batteries that are as close to the final form as possible.
This week, the Surrey, British Columbia-based company announced that independent lab Kemetco ran a series of tests and the results showed that AMY’s pilot plant was able to achieve high extraction rates from lithium-ion battery cathode material.
In detail, Kemetco sourced from a U.S. recycler several batches of commercially available scrap NMC, which contains lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt, and scrap NCA, which contains lithium-nickel-cobalt-aluminum battery cathode material.
Then, lab experts tested the material in stages 1 and 2 of the pilot plant operation using the technology developed by American Manganese that, earlier this month, received a patent from the United States Patent and Trade Mark Office.
Kemetco conducted a separation of the cathode active material from aluminum foil. Subsequently, the separated active material was processed with AMY's patented method. For the NMC scrap, the average recovery rate was 94%, while for the NCA scrap the average recovery rate was 91.4%.
According to the proponents of the technology, if commercial NMC and NCA scrap cathode materials were to be used, the recovery rate would increase because such elements have an additional wash and screen.
“From the pilot plant, we have improved the handling of large quantities of commercially available material on a continuous basis, in terms of separation of active material from aluminum foils. The proven effectiveness of extraction is a great demonstration as we plan for commercial production,” said Larry Reaugh, President and CEO of American Manganese, in a media statement.
Reaugh also said that his company is moving forward with the preparation of stages 3, 4, and 5 of the pilot plant, which will include the purification and recovery of battery grade ready lithium carbonate and base metal oxides, as well as recycling of reagents and water.
“The company aims to provide these high purity recycled battery materials to lithium-ion battery manufacturers with a goal of developing a circular economy through conflict-free and sustainable methods such as AMY's patented recycling technology,” the CEO said.
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American Manganese (TSX.V: AMY) announced this week that it will participate in a U.S. Department of Energy project to advance the economic recovery of lithium-ion battery materials from electric vehicles and other consumer goods.
In a press release, the British Columbia-based firm explained that the project is titled "Lithium-Ion Battery Disassembly, Remanufacturing, and Lithium & Cobalt Recovery Project" and it focuses on developing an economic recovery strategy for critical materials in end-of-use lithium-ion batteries from electric and hybrid electric vehicles and bicycles, as well as from power tools.
Other AMY partners include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Idaho National Lab, Purdue University and Case Western Reserve University.
"AMY is very pleased to become the first private-sector company to participate in this project," said Larry Reaugh, CEO of American Manganese, in the media brief. "We're honored to be working with world-renowned national labs and leading U.S. universities on an issue that will dramatically impact our ability to meet rising material demand for lithium, cobalt, manganese and nickel."
Reaugh noted that the work starts immediately under the supervision of the Critical Materials Institute, which is an energy innovation hub led by Ames Laboratory and supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and Advanced Manufacturing Office.
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The Federal Government of Australia launched today the Critical Minerals Strategy 2019 aimed at putting emphasis on what politicians call “the industries of the future.” In their view, these sectors include agritech, aerospace, defense, renewable energy and telecommunications.
“We have some of the world’s richest stocks of critical minerals and while the market for some of our minerals such as lithium is relatively mature, other minerals markets such as cobalt remain largely underdeveloped in Australia,” said the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham from Kemerton, the area where Albemarle’s lithium processing plant is being built.
In Birmingham’s view, Australia needs to work a little bit harder on attracting and locking-in domestic and overseas investment to get projects off the ground. “That’s why a key part of this strategy is about how industry and government agencies such as Austrade can work together to promote our potential to the world to attract more international investment, particularly in downstream projects and greenfield opportunities,” he said.
The Strategy reinforces the work of the A$100.5 million Exploring for the Future initiative, which is aimed at helping explorers target new mineralization by using high tech to observe the deepest roots of mineral systems all the way through to the surface.
The plan also supports the work of the MinEx Cooperative Research Centre, a 10-year research program whose goal is to develop and deploy the next generation of drilling technology and which will receive A$20 million in the coming years.
The 2019 action plan contemplates that the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction consumes all of its A$34.45 million in funding by 2021 as it works on developing energy-saving and resource-expanding technology that will allow lower-grade ores to be economically and eco-efficiently mined.
The Critical Minerals Strategy also backs the Major Projects Facilitation Agency, which provides a single entry point for major project proponents seeking tailored information and facilitation of their regulatory approval requirements.
For Tania Constable, CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia, government funding for innovation, skills and investment promotion is valuable, but she believes more needs be done. “Investment in the next wave of base metal and critical commodity mines and processing plants is not guaranteed, as Australia faces growing competition to attract international capital. The resources industry needs to convert this potential into lasting economic benefits,” she said in a media statement.
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