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Rock Tech and Electra sign Lithium Recycling MOU for North American Market

Toronto, ON, Canada

Rock Tech Lithium today announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Electra Battery Materials Corporation for the development of a partnership to supply recycled lithium from Electra’s Ontario battery recycling operations for upgrading to battery-grade lithium chemicals in Rock Tech’s lithium refineries. The companies will leverage their processing expertise to develop a comprehensive, fully sustainable closed-loop service offering for the recycling of lithium-ion battery manufacturing scrap, end-of-life batteries and black mass.

“Partnering with Rock Tech, a leading lithium development company with assets in Europe and North America, complements our recycling strategy by allowing us to further upgrade recycled lithium into a battery grade product,” said Trent Mell, Electra’s CEO. “Collaboration is crucial to create a closed loop for all critical minerals we recover in our black mass refining operation. 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.”

“At Rock Tech, we are thinking long-term,” emphasized Klaus Schmitz, Rock Tech’s COO. “Developing localized circular lithium value chains is key for this. Electra is an important partner to realize this vision in Ontario and North America. Our collaboration unlocks an important lithium sourcing option and ensures continuous long-term supply for our plants. 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. An efficient, environmentally friendly and truly closed recycling loop.”

Under the agreement, Electra will supply a portion of the lithium recovered from its black mass refinery north of Toronto to Rock Tech for further processing. Rock Tech will upgrade the lithium to battery-grade lithium chemicals at its planned lithium converters. This upgrading step is essential to achieve the quality and purity required to qualify the final lithium product for re-use in the manufacturing process of new batteries.

Processing of material is expected to start in 2026. Supply is expected to increase over time, as Electra continues to expand its battery materials park in a modular fashion. The companies also intend to explore additional collaboration opportunities including possible licensing of Electra’s technology for application in Europe and the co-location of future battery recycling and lithium refining plants.

Rock Tech is an emerging producer of lithium chemicals through its planned lithium conversion facility in Germany as well as a second proposed lithium converter to be developed in Ontario, Canada. The company is developing a refining platform for both, primary spodumene concentrate and recycled lithium from battery and black mass recycling operations.

Electra is currently constructing North America’s only cobalt sulphate refinery in Temiskaming Shores, Ontario as part of a multipronged effort to co-locate cobalt, nickel, manganese and black mass refining within the refining complex. Electra is currently testing its proprietary hydrometallurgical process to recycle black mass on a plant scale setting, recovering nickel-cobalt MHP, lithium carbonate, graphite and other commercial products.

In May 2023, Electra announced its intention to form a joint venture with the Three Fires Group to source and process lithium-ion battery waste generated by manufacturers of current and future battery cells, electric vehicles, and energy storage systems. Battery waste would be processed at a facility to be located in southern Ontario to produce black mass feed material for Electra’s refinery to recover lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper, manganese and graphite.