Press Release

Growth area of battery recycling: Aurubis starts test operation in new pilot plant in Hamburg

Hamburg | Friday, March 18, 2022

  • Processing of black mass from lithium-ion batteries begins in pilot plant
  • Lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and graphite recovered in hydrometallurgical processes
  • Aurubis CEO Roland Harings: “We want to play a leading role in battery recycling”

Multimetal supplier Aurubis is expanding its expertise in the growth area of battery recycling: production is being commissioned in a new pilot plant at the Hamburg site after the successful conclusion of extensive lab-scale tests of the process.

Battery recycling is gaining strong significance due to growth in electric vehicles and the swift increase in demand for lithium-ion batteries and the raw materials required to produce them. As the most efficient and sustainable smelter network in the world, we have the long-standing metallurgical expertise necessary to be a key trailblazer for the mobility shift with our metals and process solutions

emphasizes Aurubis AG CEO Roland Harings.

The pilot plant has a modular structure and will extract valuable metals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and graphite from so-called black mass in a hydrometallurgical process, with exceptionally high yields. Black mass is a powdery residue that forms when lithium-ion batteries are dismantled and shredded. The metals recovered in the Aurubis recycling process can then be used for new batteries and other products.

The responsible approach to resources and the goal of closing the cycle of valuable metals for electric vehicles are important factors for our investment decision. Furthermore, recycling is a central, strategic driver of growth for Aurubis. We want to play a leading role in battery recycling

stresses Aurubis CEO Roland Harings. Following the successful conclusion of the pilot phase, Aurubis plans to build a battery recycling plant on an industrial scale – for this purpose, the multimetal supplier currently anticipates an investment of approximately € 200 million.

I’m firmly convinced that Aurubis will commission an industrial-scale battery recycling plant within the next five years

Harings says. The investments in the growth area of battery recycling are another example of the implementation of the Aurubis strategy Metals for Progress: Driving Sustainable Growth. Just recently in February, the multimetal supplier announced an investment of about € 70 million in the construction of a facility (BOB – Bleed treatment Olen Beerse) at the Aurubis site in Olen, Belgium, that will process electrolyte (referred to as bleed) and extract elements such as nickel from it – a central metal for electric vehicles. These steps help Aurubis expand its role as industrial forerunner in sustainability and return important metals to the industrial cycle.

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