Glencore unveils plans for UK battery recycling plant

Anglo-Swiss mining company Glencore has unveiled plans to build a 10,000 tonnes per year capacity lithium-iron battery recycling plant in Northfleet, Kent.

The Northfleet recycling facility will process all Britishvolt’s battery manufacturing scrap from their plant, as well as portable and electric vehicle batteries

The company said the facility will be operational by mid-2023 and will be based at the Britannia Refined Metals operation, owned by Glencore.

Glencore is partnering with Britishvolt on the project, which positions itself as “the UK’s foremost investor in battery cell technologies and R&D”.

Britishvolt are behind a battery manufacturing ‘gigafactory’ in Blyth, Northumberland.

The Northfleet recycling facility will process all Britishvolt’s battery manufacturing scrap from their Gigafactory, as well as lithium-ion batteries, battery manufacturing scrap, portable electronics batteries and full electric vehicle packs.

UK market

David Brocas, head cobalt trader at Glencore, commented: “We believe the opportunity to utilise BRM’s operations as a cutting-edge battery recycling facility will help support the development of a UK battery recycling industry. It will also play a part in furthering the UK’s climate ambitions as well as Glencore’s as we work towards net zero total emissions by 2050.”

The partnership also aims to research how to make the recycling of EV batteries easier and more cost effective, “maximising their supply chain value and to influence legislation”.

According to the Faraday Institution large amounts of lithium-ion battery packs will be available for recycling from around 2028 as electric vehicles come to their end of life.

However, the company says “there are no substantial recycling facilities currently in the UK, and many UK manufacturers currently export used batteries to European facilities for recycling”.

Greenpeace data also suggests that around 12.85 million tons of EV lithium-ion batteries will go offline between 2021 and 2030.

Relationship

The two companies already work together, with Glencore supplying British volt with cobalt for its batter manufacturing plant.

Glencore also owns a stake in the company, though the exact value of this is unclear.

Timon Orlob, global chief operating officer of Britishvolt, said: “Recycling is key to a successful energy transition and has always been a major part of Britishvolt’s business model.

“We’ve been looking for the perfect partner to help kick start a UK battery recycling industry and FTSE 100-listed Glencore has expert historical experience in recycling.

“This will help us both to create a truly sustainable battery value-chain, create jobs and develop new battery recycling technologies. Both Britishvolt and Glencore are fully committed to reducing carbon across the supply chain.”

 

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