Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) is embedding itself even further in the battery supply chain with the acquisition of a stake in a Victorian battery recycling company.

The company is picking up an 18.9 per cent stake in Envirostream for $600,000.

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Envirostream is the only company in Australia that operates a facility that can shred lithium-ion batteries and produce a powder containing critical metals that is then exported for refining.

Australia right now is pretty sucky at recycling batteries. Only 3 per cent – predominantly lithium-ion batteries – are returned for reprocessing.

“Sustainable and ethical supply of critical materials is a global challenge,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said.

“Maximizing the recycling of all battery metals, something rarely done effectively, is a target we have achieved in university-controlled testing.

“We have not limited ourselves to lithium-ion batteries but have included alkaline batteries with the aim of eliminating all such spent items from landfill.”

Australia is one of the world’s top five producers of antimony, cobalt, lithium and rare earths — minerals that are rated as “critical” by the US, UK or EU.

The federal government last month released its critical minerals strategy, which includes priority funding for critical minerals projects.

Lithium Australia is developing a process to extract nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium from the powders produced by Envirostream to regenerate battery cathodes.

The process will also be designed to recover graphite from the battery anodes.

Batteries include an anode (positive) and a cathode (negative) and the electrical current flows between the two.

Envirostream will use Lithium Australia’s $600,000 contribution to expand its battery shredding facilities.

Meanwhile, Lithium Australia’s hydrometallurgical flow sheet for the processing of powders produced from Envirostream’s facility is expected to be completed later this year.

In other battery metals news:

Mineral Commodities (ASX:MRC) has bought what it says is the “world’s highest grade” flake graphite operation for $US9.2m ($12.9m). The company struck a deal to acquire Skaland Graphite AS, which owns the Trælen mine in Norway. The graphite being fed to the processing plant averages a grade of 28 per cent carbon. Typical graphite grades average around 10-15 per cent carbon. The Trælen operation currently produces around 10,000 tonnes each year of graphite concentrate.
Argosy Minerals (ASX:AGY) has proven it can produce better than battery grade lithium hydroxide for potential customers. Testwork has indicated the company’s Rincon project is capable of delivering 56.84 per cent lithium hydroxide. Standard battery grade is 56.5 per cent. This equates to a purity of 99.61 per cent lithium hydroxide monohydrate. The sample was being produced for testing by a major Korean battery group.
Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) has hit new thick, high-grade lithium at its Kathleen Valley project in Western Australia. Recent drilling delivered intercepts of up to 31m wide and grades of up to 4.2 per cent lithium.
Battery Minerals (ASX:BAT) has topped up its coffers with a “heavily oversubscribed” placement that raised $5m. The cash will be used to continue the development of the company’s Montepuez graphite project in Mozambique.
Jervois Mining (ASX:JRV) plans to list on the US’ secondary OTCQX market. The listing will be done after the company completes its planned mergers with eCobalt Solutions and M2 Cobalt. As part of the eCobalt merger, Jervois also plans to seek a listing on Canada’s TSX Venture Exchange.