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Along with Christmas parties, the most oft discussed topic in 2021 was almost certainly the COP26 conference, net zero carbon neutrality, sustainability, climate change and other aspirational matters pointing to an internal combustion engine free world. There’s plenty of awareness of the issues surrounding climate change and the environment, but the simple facts are that the leading economies around the world (never mind the developing nations) are woefully underprepared to tackle these issues and create the circular economy required to support sustainability.
Technology Minerals is a London-based, LSE-listed company creating a circular economy for battery metals. The company, which is also engaged in extracting raw materials required for lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery cathodes, plans to increase its lead-acid battery recycling capability to 16,000 tonnes per annum by 2022, and 5,000 tonnes per annum for Li-ion batteries in the same time frame.
Robin Brundle, chairman of Technology Minerals plc, outlines TM’s plans to recycle batteries on an industrial scale.
We start full industrial-scale production in early 2022 with two plants, the first, which is currently being installed and will be ready for commissioning in January, is focused on lead-acid battery recycling. The second on lithium-ion battery recycling is now in a manufacture test phase and will be ready for commissioning in February 2022. The sites are both located in the Midlands.
Our recently announced partnership with Slicker Recycling provides a full UK footprint for safe custodianship of collection, of all types of li-ion batteries to our processing plants as we start to build front end inventory during 2022 and grow production. In addition, the wider Slicker group is also very strong in Europe offering a mirror image of the services they offer in the UK. So that could be, at the appropriate time, important for us as we build commercial relationships in Europe.
Can you explain how your recycling process works? How do you get the value out of the so-called ‘black mass’?
The process, for both lead-acid and li-ion, starts through our nationwide collection process and the safe delivery of the batteries to our processing plants in the Midlands.
The li-ion process is industry-leading, and we own the IP on both the process and the plant design. Our process safely deals with all five types of li-ion battery sciences and in any mix or combination at the same time. The plant is modular in design and thus cost effective and each plant can process 5,000 tones per year on a single shift basis. The plant is UK designed, UK manufactured and serviced by a UK company. What sets us apart is that our process does not use pyrolysis or saline solution, and this removes risk to the working environment.
On the lead-acid side, we are industrialising and mechanising a long-established industry that has traditionally been very labour intensive. The efficiencies of the plant combined with our processes really does modernise the sector and will assist in reducing the number of batteries that are either incinerated or worse still sent to landfill.
With regard to black mass, we are working on an end solution for the UK market – it is notable that as it stands – the UK doesn’t currently have the capability to process the black mass back to its constituent parts.
Until the UK has this capability, we have global offtake partners with whom we have already shared testing samples from our process. We already have these offtake partners in place as we build black mass production through 2022.
Are your processes patented and do you intend to license them?
On the li-ion plant, we are currently reviewing our patent applications for both the plant and the process. We are focused on retaining our early to market advantage and will take the necessary steps to do so. The final design and build of the plant have taken nearly two years and is testament to the engineering innovation that we have to hand in such depth in the UK.
On the lead-acid side, we are currently writing a new process to surpass any previous patents that exist. The plant has been sourced from the UK, Europe and Brazil and takes circa eight months from order to completion.
What relationship do you have with Gigafactories?
We have a number of ongoing discussions with the battery OEMs which are at various stages of maturity, and also the tier one auto manufacturers to become their respective partners of choice. Certainly, we aim to build out our plants in line with customer requirements and, where appropriate, creating a bespoke recycling capability on-site which utilises the benefits of our modular processing plant and technology.
You are currently looking at Li-ion batteries from EVs. Do you plan on using other sources (laptops, tablets etc) of battery?
This proprietary process enables us to put all five sciences of lithium-ion batteries through our process, whether that is from portable devices, laptops, e-bikes, through to the heavier end of automotive and energy stations. Each battery type has a slightly different science, and our process allows us to safely recycle any combination through to the output of the ‘black mass’ material, which is rich in a number of the key metals which goes onto the final process of refining back to their respective form.
What markets are you targeting?
Because of the ability of the process to handle all five sciences in lithium-ion batteries we are not restricted as to sector or industry, from the perspective of local authorities looking for safe handling and recycling, through to the automotive OEMs, fleet management and auto dealership networks we have the logistic solution and the re-purposing and then recycling engineering process that really does embrace a circular economy solution for end-of-use and end-of-life batteries.
More broadly, what percentage of your mined products do you expect to introduce into the mix over time?
Our whole strategy is focused on the circular economy, and specifically in the battery sector, and as such we are targeting 100 per cent of all materials being used, be that mined or recycled.
The focus for our recycling operation longer term is on the UK and European markets with a view to grow to 20,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries and 60,000 tonnes of lead-acid batteries respectively per annum over the next decade.
The largest market opportunity is in the automotive industry, with 800,000 tonnes of battery per year, equating to ~70 per cent of the battery market in Europe
Lead-acid is the largest battery type with 831,000 tonnes, comprising over 72 per cent of the battery market in Europe.
Cadence Minerals #KDNC – Option Granted to Castillo Copper (ASX/LON: CCZ) to Acquire the Litchfield and Picasso Lithium Projects in Australia.
Cadence Minerals (AIM/NEX: KDNC; OTC: KDNCY) is pleased to announce that Castillo Copper (ASX/LON: CCZ) (“Castillo”) has entered into a 90-day option agreement with Lithium Technologies Pty Ltd (“LT”) and Lithium Supplies Pty Ltd (“LS”), in which Cadence owns a 29% shareholding, to acquire – subject to due diligence – the Litchfield and Picasso Lithium Projects in the Northern Territory (NT) and Western Australia (WA) respectively.
- ASX and London listed Castillo has a 90-day option to acquire – subject to due diligence – the Litchfield and Picasso Lithium Projects.
- Consideration for 100% of the holding companies which hold these assets (plus others) is up to AUS$ 3 million in equity of Castillo.
- Castillo is an Australian-based explorer primarily focused on copper across Australia and Zambia. The group is embarking on a strategic transformation to morph into a mid-tier copper group underpinned by its core projects.
- The Litchfield Lithium Project is contiguous to Core Lithium’s (ASX: CXO) strategic Finniss Lithium Project which has JORC compliant ore reserves (7.4Mt @ 1.3% Li2O), with production slated to start in 2H 20221. There is potential for lithium pegmatite bodies along Litchfield’s north-west boundary.
- The Picasso Lithium Project in WA is proximal to Liontown’s Resources’ (ASX: LTR) Buldania Project, with a JORC compliant resource at 14.9Mt @ 0.97% Li2O3 and has mapped pegmatites that potentially host lithium mineralisation.
Cadence CEO Kiran Morzaria added: “The potential acquisition by Castillo provides Cadence with an exposure to developing copper assets which complements our already substantial lithium portfolio. Moreover, given Castillo’s established in country leadership and cash position we see this potential acquisition by Castillo as the best strategic approach to maximize returns for our shareholders. We look forward to seeing Castillo develop these assets further.”
Castillo’s Managing Director Simon Paull commented: “Acquiring prospective lithium projects, which complement the copper assets, arguably provides Castillo with a strong comparative advantage moving forward. In focusing on developing copper and lithium projects, the Board is positioning Castillo to potentially create significant incremental value from the transition towards renewable energy sources and accelerating demand for electric vehicles globally.”
LT and LS each own 50% of Synergy Prospecting Pty Ltd (“Synergy”) and have granted Castillo a 90-day option to acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of LT and LS and by implication 100% of Synergy.
During this 90-day period, Castillo will be conducting due diligence on all three entities to ensure the underlying assets are in good standing and there are no material adverse issues. Under the terms of the option agreement, Castillo can exercise its right to acquire LT, LS, and Synergy at any time during the 90-day period.
Castillo Copper Limited is an Australian-based explorer primarily focused on copper across Australia and Zambia. The group is embarking on a strategic transformation to morph into a mid-tier copper group underpinned by its core projects:
- A large footprint in the in the Mt Isa copper-belt district, north-west Queensland, which delivers significant exploration upside through having several high-grade targets and a sizeable untested anomaly within its boundaries in a copper-rich region.
- Four high-quality prospective assets across Zambia’s copper-belt which is the second largest copper producer in Africa.
- A large tenure footprint proximal to Broken Hill’s world-class deposit that is prospective for zinc-silver-lead-copper-gold.
- Cangai Copper Mine in northern New South Wales, which is one of Australia’s highest grading historic copper mines.
The primary assets of Synergy, which are wholly owned, comprise the Litchfield Lithium Project (EL31774) in NT and Picasso Lithium Project (E63/1888) in WA. In addition, Synergy has an application in NT – EL31828 – known as the Alcoota Lithium Project, which comprises ground proximal to Alice Springs. Castillo will need to undertake further geological due diligence on this application.
LT and LS also hold applications for six lithium properties in San Luis Province, Central Argentina. Again, Castillo will need to undertake further geological due diligence on these applications.
Further details on these assets and all the applications and permits are contained on our website here
Option terms & consideration
The terms of the 90-day option are as follows:
- A$50,000 non-refundable deposit in cash on formally granting the option that will go directly to Synergy for working capital purposes.
Upon exercising the option within the 90-day period, the binding consideration terms are as follows:
- A$1m script payment in CCZ shares will become payable to the Vendor Group based on the 14-day WVAP calculated from the date of which the option agreement is announced to the ASX. Note, the Vendor Group will be subject to a 6-month voluntary escrow period for 50% of the shares and 12-months for the 50% balance from the date of settlement. In addition, both parties agree to sign off on a binding term sheet.
Incremental consideration terms are applicable if the following milestones are achieved:
- A$1m script payment in CCZ’s shares to the Vendor Group based on the 14-day WVAP if two drill-holes produce assayed intercepts greater or equal to a true width of at least 10m @ 1.3% Li2O.Note, the two holes will be at least 100m apart, but not greater than 200m.
- A$1m script payment in CCZ’s shares to the Vendor Group based on the 14-day WVAP if a JORC compliant total inferred resource of at least 7Mt @ 1.3% Li2O is modelled by SRK Consulting.
- In the event of commercial mining operations commencing a 2% NSR will be payable to the nominees of the facilitator.
– Ends –
For further information: Cadence Minerals plc
+44 (0) 7879 584153
WH Ireland Limited (NOMAD & Broker)
+44 (0) 207 220 1666
Novum Securities Limited (Joint Broker)
+44 (0) 207 399 9400
Kiran Morzaria B.Eng. (ACSM), MBA, has reviewed and approved the information contained in this announcement. Kiran holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Industrial Geology) from the Camborne School of Mines and an MBA (Finance) from CASS Business School.
Certain statements in this announcement are or may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are identiﬁed by their use of terms and phrases such as ”believe” ”could” “should” ”envisage” ”estimate” ”intend” ”may” ”plan” ”will” or the negative of those variations or comparable expressions including references to assumptions. These forward-looking statements are not based on historical facts but rather on the Directors’ current expectations and assumptions regarding Cadence Minerals Plc’s future growth results of operations performance future capital and other expenditures (including the amount. nature and sources of funding thereof) competitive advantages business prospects and opportunities. Such forward-looking statements reﬂect the Directors’ current beliefs and assumptions and are based on information currently available to the Directors. Many factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements including risks associated with vulnerability to general economic and business conditions competition environmental and other regulatory changes actions by governmental authorities the availability of capital markets reliance on key personnel uninsured and underinsured losses and other factors many of which are beyond the control of Cadence Minerals Plc. Although any forward-looking statements contained in this announcement are based upon what the Directors
believe to be reasonable assumptions. Cadence Minerals Plc cannot assure investors that actual results will be consistent with such forward-looking statements.
Lithium prices are soaring in China on the back of heavy demand for lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, a new report by battery supply chain research and price reporting agency Benchmark Mineral Intelligence shows.