Electra and Rock Tech to Partner on Lithium Recycling

Nov. 30, 2023
The partnership aims to develop a fully sustainable closed-loop service offering lithium-ion battery recycling as well as manufacturing end-of-life batteries

Electra Battery Materials Corp. has signed a memorandum of understanding with Rock Tech Lithium to supply recycled lithium for upgrading to battery-grade lithium in Rock Tech’s refineries. 

The lithium will come from Electra’s black mass refinery in Canada, which Rock Tech will upgrade using its planned lithium converters. Processing of material is expected to start in 2026, with supply increasing over time. 

Electra, which processes battery materials, is constructing the only cobalt sulfate refinery in North America in Temiskaming Shores, Ontario. It currently has black mass recycling and nickel sulfate production operations at its refinery plant just north of Toronto and plans to add cobalt, nickel, manganese, and black mass refining to the refinery complex. 

Rock Tech, on the other hand, is a lithium chemical producer with operations in Canada and Germany, where its first lithium conversion facility is located, with another one proposed for Ontario. 

The company intends to produce lithium hydroxide for electric vehicle batteries and today sources its raw materials from the Georgia Lake spodumene project, Ontario’s Thunder Bay Mining District, as well as mines that meet certain standards. Over time, executives plan to add discarded batteries to that list of sources. 

“At Rock Tech, we are thinking long-term. Developing localized circular lithium value chains is key for this. Electra is an important partner to realize this vision in Ontario and North America,” said Klaus Schmitz, Rock Tech’s COO. “Our collaboration ensures that lithium recovered from the recycling of end-of-life batteries or battery manufacturing scrap is recovered, refined, and returned to the battery value chain as battery-grade lithium product.”

This may not be the only project the two companies collaborate on: Executives intend to explore the licensing of Electra’s technology for use in Europe and the co-location of future battery recycling and lithium refining plants.

“Jointly with Rock Tech, we are excited to offer an end-to-end battery recycling solution specifically for the lithium market. The partnership is expected to generate an additional revenue stream for Electra, improve our service offering for our clients, and facilitate future growth,” said Trent Mell, Electra’s CEO.