The Asia Miner

JUL-SEP 2019

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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the asia miner • volume 16 • issue 3 36 AROUND THE REGION Right now, Australia lags behind the rest of the world in baery recycling, in that only three per cent – predominantly lithium-ion baeries (LIBs) – are returned for reprocessing. Recycling such materials onshore could augment the federal government's Criঞcal Minerals Strategy, formally launched in March 2019. This strategy, while strongly focused on raw materials and supply chains, acknowledges the impact of innovaঞon in processing to recover not only primary metals but also a range of by-products. Baery recycling relies on innovaঞons of this type for sustainable and ethical supply of materials back into the baery-producঞon cycle. The environmental benefits are also enormous because, aside from housing criঞcal elements in high concentraঞons, baeries contain toxins in the form of electrolytes – materials that should never be relegated to landfill. In a statement, Lithium Australia announced that it recognised Victorian-based Envirostream as the naঞonal leader in the primary reprocessing of LIBs. At present, it operates the only facility in Australia for shredding such baeries, producing a powder containing criঞcal metals that is then exported for refining. Meanwhile, Lithium Australia says it is developing a hydrometallurgical flow sheet for the processing of powders of this type, in order to extract the chemicals (nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium compounds) required to regenerate baery cathodes, with simultaneous recovery of graphite from the baery anodes. Combining the key competencies of Lithium Australia and Envirostream will allow the laer to expand its operaঞons, thereby ensuring that criঞcal metals recovered from recycled baeries remain under Australian control to the point of sale. "Australia's failure to achieve adequate baery-recycling rates has been exacerbated by inadequate collecঞon networks," says Lithium Australia Managing Director, Adrian Griffin. "Envirostream, which has considerable experience in baery collecঞon, will roll out its own collecঞon strategy to deal with the rapidly increasing quanঞty of spent baeries naঞonally." The funds Lithium Australia provides to Envirostream will be used to expand the laer's baery-shredding faciliঞes. Meanwhile, Lithium Australia will conঞnue its research into the chemical processing of alkaline baeries and LIBs. It is anঞcipated that Lithium Australia will complete the design of its flow sheet for the hydrometallurgical recovery of metals from LIBs later this year. Western Australia will host a naঞonal consorঞum to posiঞon Australia as a global leader in the manufacture and supply of baeries a[er a AU$135 million industry-backed research hub was supported by the Australian Federal Government. Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews, announced that the Curঞn University-led naঞonal collaboraঞon of 58 industry, government and research partners had been successful in its bid to establish the Future Baery Industries Cooperaঞve Research Centre (CRC). Curঞn University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Chris Moran said the major announcement would ensure Australia capitalised on the significant opportuniঞes presented by the baery boom. "The world is transiঞoning to electricity systems powered by renewable energy and the global use of energy materials is booming, driven by the rising demand for baeries to store this power," Professor Moran said. "The Future Baery Industries CRC will address the exisঞng gaps in the naঞon's capacity to respond to this growth industry by creaঞng opportuniঞes to process, manufacture and deploy baeries, delivering an esঞmated AU$2.5 billion benefit to the Australian economy over the next 15 years. "This naঞonal consorঞum will also offer evidence-based advice to inform the development of government policies, rules and regulaঞons to help guide the rapid transformaঞon of energy systems driven by the expansion of renewables all over the world." Future Baery Industries CRC Chair Mr Tim Shanahan said the consorঞum had a six-year plan to address industry- idenঞfied gaps in the baery industries value chain. "The Future Baery Industries CRC will invesঞgate opportuniঞes for greater efficiencies in the extracঞon and refinement of baery minerals, including facilitaঞng the steps beyond mining and concentrate producঞon to cathode producঞon and the manufacture and tesঞng of baery components and systems," said Mr Shanahan. The Australian Government has commied AU$25 million to support the development of the Future Baery Industries CRC, following a AU$28 million commitment from industry, government and research partners. The Western Australian State Government seeded the bid with a combined AU$6 million in provisional funding to support to establishment of the Future Baery Industries CRC in Perth, Western Australia. WA home to AU$135 million national battery research hub Battery recycling made easy Lithium Australia and Envirostream partner up to provide soluon to baery recycling

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