Primobius partners with Stelco in recycling of electric vehicle batteries

Primobius GmbH has executed binding option and licensing agreements with the North American steelmaking company Stelco Holdings Inc. headquartered in Hamilton, Ontario. Both parties have agreed on formal arrangements to commercialize Primobius’s proprietary advanced electric vehicle battery recycling and processing technologies in North America.

Primobius is an incorporated joint venture between Australian Stock Exchange listed company Neometals Ltd. and private German engineering and technology company SMS group, to commercialize an environmentally friendly recycling solution for lithium-ion-batteries (LIB). Primobius has developed a CO2-reduced, two-step system combining mechanical and hydrometallurgical processes to bring high-purity chemicals back into the battery supply chain.

Besides its own ten tons per day commercial disposal plant at SMS group location Hilchenbach, Germany, which addresses the needs of the LIB supply chain in Europe, this new partnership represents a significant milestone for Primobius. It supports the strategy to become the leading LIB recycler through the establishment of a second operating base. The option agreement with Stelco grants Primobius the right to acquire between 25 % and 50 % equity in Stelco recycling.

Prof. Dr. Hans Ferkel, CTO at SMS group and Primobius Member of the Advisory Board said: “We recognize the need to secure access to large volumes of future end-of-life LIBs and the present need to recycle a significantly growing volume of end-of-life batteries and production scrap from LIB cell production in the United States. The partnership presents the perfect opportunity for us to enter one of the world’s fastest growing cell making markets.”

As a leading supplier of steel to the automotive OEMs, Stelco consumes scrap as part of its steel manufacturing process and is planning to secure sufficient volumes of end-of-life vehicles to source scrap steel feedstock. As Primobius has licensed its battery recycling technology to Stelco, the steelmaking company is now in a position to mature its feedstock targeting activities with an additional direct access to a sustainable industrial-scale battery recycling solution.

Stelco Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alan Kestenbaum said: “With this novel approach, Stelco is uniquely positioned to provide the highest quality automotive steels available in North America as well as a greater value proposition to its customers. By providing this service, Stelco will be able to recycle end-of-life electric vehicles, convert them into green steel and recover from their batteries high purity metals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese. The synergies obtained by joining the leading engineering company in the world with the leading battery metals technology company and with our state-of-the-art steelmaking capabilities position Stelco as the best-in-class partner to automotive OEMs, particularly those pursuing electric vehicle strategies.

SMS group already looks back on an existing long-standing relationship with Stelco from its steel-related activities. Recycling solutions have also always been an essential part of SMS group’s leading technology portfolio. The combination of in-depth metallurgical know-how with engineering skills, digital expertise and plant technology consultancy makes the company a key enabler for circularity in the metals industry.

Prof. Dr. Hans Ferkel: “The fact that with Primobius we are now partnering in the area of LIB recycling underlines our lifecycle partnership approach at SMS group.”

“Stelco is thrilled to partner with Primobius. After an extensive search for best-in-class technologies worldwide, including a detailed review of Primobius’ newly commissioned and operational demonstration plant in Hilchenbach, Germany, on the premises of leading engineering firm SMS group, Stelco has reached an agreement that will enable Stelco to create a closed-loop system of auto recycling and provision of green steel and battery metals back to its automotive OEM customers. With this novel approach, Stelco is uniquely positioned to provide the highest quality automotive steels available in North America as well as a greater value proposition to its customers,” Kestenbaum continued.

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