Proactive Investors | By Emma Davies.

Envirostream is focused on the complete process of battery recycling, from transport, handling and discharge to materials recovery.

The company has applied for local council planning permits and an EPA Victoria work permit

Lithium Australia NL’s (ASX:LIT) subsidiary Envirostream Australia is implementing safety, environmental and permitting improvements around its expanding operations following a newspaper article published in The Age newspaper in Melbourne.

Envirostream’s operates Australia’s only mixed-battery recycling facilities in Melbourne and is an expert in the complete process of battery recycling, from transport, handling and discharge to materials recovery.

Being a world leader in safety procedures, transport and environmental risk assessment allows the company to offer a safe, effective, cost-efficient and sustainable solution to the recycling of end-of-life batteries, thereby providing sound and environmentally aware solutions to battery disposal.

Permitting progress

Envirostream was served breach notices on July 8, 2020, by the local council on two of its facilities in Melbourne for not having the appropriate council planning permits.

The company has been in ongoing discussions with the council on a weekly basis and intends to apply for the correct permits to operate in the coming days.

Envirostream continues to process all lithium-ion battery inventories, to reduce any potential fire and safety risks with a current expectation that 80 tonnes of material will be processed this quarter.

The required rectification is taking longer than normal due to the current COVID-19 restrictions in place in Melbourne and the current expectation to rectify is between 30 and 60 days.

Application underway

The company has also held permit application meetings with the local council and has been granted an extension for the lodgement of its additional permit applications which will be lodged later this week.

Envirostream and the local council are in good faith discussions to reduce operating risks and for the continuing operations at both premises.

The company continues to work very closely with the regulatory bodies to ensure its management systems, safety and environmental procedures are better than industry accepted standards and to minimise the risks to the local communities.

These developments are not expected to have any material effect on either the September 20 quarter or the FY21 revenue for the Lithium Australia NL Group.

EPA licence pending

Envirostream has not been operating at above 500 tonnes per annum of specified waste at any of its Melbourne sites and is not required to hold an EPA licence to operate.

On September 11, 2020, the company applied for an EPA Victoria work permit for one of its Melbourne premises to operate at above 500 tonnes per annum of specified waste due to its expected growth in battery collection and recycling volumes.

The company is working very closely with the EPA to demonstrate industry best practice in its recycling process, and the granting of an expanded work permit in advance of that capacity being required.

Envirostream continues to operate at below the 500 tonnes per annum of specified waste processing rate and has taken steps to minimise the amount of stock levels at each of its premises.

Importantly, the EPA has not issued Envirostream with any breach notices following its visits to the company’s premises.

Focus on safe practices

Envirostream, being the only mixed battery recycler in Australia, is focused on diverting the maximum amount of material from landfill and improving sustainability of the battery industry by creating the circular economy.

Worksafe Victoria has visited Envirostream’s current premises on several of occasions to inspect the company’s safety practices and has not issued the company with any breach notices regarding any of these premises.

Sustainable battery disposal

More than 90% of the battery materials processed by Environstream are recycled, with materials recovered include steel, aluminium, copper-containing components (wire and transformers) and circuit boards, as well as battery electrode materials.

Mixed metal dust (MMD) is recovered which contains cobalt, nickel, manganese, lithium and graphite and is delivered to Envirostream’s MMD offtake partners for further refining for use in new batteries.

In addition, Envirostream’s low-temperature processing recovers volatile components, including plastics and electrolytes, resulting in higher mass yields and lower carbon emissions.

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Proactive Investors | By John Miller.

Envirostream is the only Australian company able to recycle all the energy metals from spent lithium-ion batteries.

Envirostream’s new Melbourne battery recycling plant in operation

Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) has moved to 74% ownership of Melbourne-based leading Australian battery recycler Envirostream as part of a major ramp-up of its energy metals strategy.

The increase in ownership from 23.9% represents another key milestone in the company’s plans to create a circular battery economy in which recycling old lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) is intrinsic.

Envirostream is the only company in Australia with the integrated capacity to collect, sort, shred and separate all components of spent LIBs.

Perfect fit with LIT

This makes it a perfect fit with Lithium Australia’s critical battery metal extraction expertise.

LIT managing director Adrian Griffin said, “Lithium Australia views the acquisition of a controlling interest in Envirostream as not only taking a key position in the recycling of battery metals, but also providing an environmental solution for all Australians that use batteries.

“Following the successful construction and commissioning of Australia’s biggest lithium-ion battery recycling plant, Envirostream can focus on the roll-out of its Australia-wide collection network.”

As part consideration for the acquired interest, Lithium Australia has made a payment to Envirostream of $100,000.

Expanded facilities

Some of these funds are to be used by Envirostream for commissioning the expanded Melbourne battery recycling facilities.

During FY19, Envirostream generated $1.3 million in revenue from recycling 149 tonnes of spent batteries.

The expanded plant, which has the capacity to annually recycle up to 3,000 tonnes of batteries, has been successfully commissioned with first mixed metal dust (MMD) produced.

It is currently being ramped up and optimised.

Envirostream’s next shipment of MMD containing the energy metals cobalt, nickel and lithium is expected later this month.

“Environmentally responsible solutions”

“Together, Lithium Australia and Envirostream are developing environmentally responsible solutions to the mounting problems of spent batteries,” Griffin said.

“Keeping spent batteries from landfill and exporting the energy metals they contain is an Australian imperative.”

Increasing MMD shipments

Envirostream recently announced that it had agreed to increase MMD shipments to SungEel, for refining into cobalt, nickel and lithium chemicals for the production of new LIBs.

Following the acquisition of LIT’s 73.7% interest in Envirostream, Andrew Mackenzie, the founder of Envirostream, will remain as managing director.

Adrian Griffin will be appointed non-executive chairman and Andrew Skalski as a non-executive director of Envirostream.

Solution to LIB disposal

LIT’s MD said, “Closing the loop on the production of battery materials reduces the environmental footprint of the mining and processing aspects inherent in battery production, improves sustainability and prevents the components of spent batteries from leaking into groundwater and oceans as a consequence of their relegation to landfill or transport to other jurisdictions.

“Envirostream can provide an immediate and viable solution to the LIB disposal crisis in this country.”

While rationalising its portfolio of lithium projects, LIT continues with R&D on its proprietary extraction processes for the conversion of all lithium minerals to lithium chemicals.

From those chemicals, LIT plans to produce advanced components for the battery industry globally, and for stationary energy storage systems within Australia.

By uniting resources and innovation, the company seeks to vertically integrate lithium recycling, extraction and processing.

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Proactive Investors | By Karen Tan.

Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) managing director Adrian Griffin updates Proactive on the company’s 24% subsidiary Envirostream Australia Pty Ltd signing an MoU with South Korean company SungEel HiTech Co Ltd.

SungEel recovers critical energy metals from LIB scrap and has become one of the world’s largest battery recyclers.

This company has agreed that Envirostream will have exclusivity of mixed metal dust (MMD) supply from Australia.

Envirostream is the only company in Australia with the integrated capacity to collect, sort, shred and separate all the components of spent LIBs.

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Lithium Australia’s partner Envirostream will begin shipping its mixed metal dust to SungEel this month for refining into cobalt, nickel and lithium chemicals.

Lithium Australia’s (ASX: LIT) 24%-owned subsidiary Envirostream Australia Pty Ltd will supply recycled battery metals to Korean-based SungEel Hitech under an offtake deal announced this morning.

The deal is part of Lithium Australia’s strategy to advance its battery recycling capabilities and will involve Envirostream supplying a mixed metal dust extracted from spent batteries to the Korean battery recycling company.

Contained within the mixed metal dust will be cobalt, nickel and lithium which have been recovered from old batteries at Envirostream’s battery recycling plant in Melbourne, Australia.

Under the memorandum of understanding, SungEel will have exclusivity to Envirostream’s mixed metal dust.

Envirostream will boost its shipments to SungEel starting this month, with SungEel to process the dust into cobalt, nickel and lithium chemicals.

These chemicals will then be incorporated in new lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion battery recycling vital to circular battery economy

According to Lithium Australia, SungEel is one of the world’s largest battery recyclers and is the biggest in South Korea.

Lithium Australia claims SungEel’s work is “vital to the implementation of a circular battery economy” both in Australia and globally.

The Korean company is also honing its knowledge and technology in the space through continued research and development.

Back in Australia, Envirostream is the country’s only company with integrated capacity to collect, sort, shred and separate all components of spent lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin noted Lithium Australia was working with Envirostream to roll-out Envirostream’s collection network and expand its capabilities “as rapidly as possible”.

“Expanding Envirostream’s processing capacity to keep spent lithium-ion batteries from landfill and export the energy metals they contain is an Australian imperative,” Mr Griffin explained.

“Closing the loop on the production of battery materials reduces the environmental footprint of the mining and processing aspects inherent in lithium-ion battery production, improves sustainability and prevents the components of spent lithium-ion batteries from leaking into groundwater and oceans as a consequence of their relegation to landfill or transport to other jurisdictions.”

“Together, Lithium Australia, Envirostream and SungEel can provide and immediate and viable solution to the lithium-ion battery disposal crisis in this country,” Mr Griffin said.

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pv magazine | By .

The South Korean battery manufacturer has joined forces with Victorian recycler Envirostream to develop processing solutions and reduce battery waste stream in Australia.

Disposing of li-ion batteries into landfill is both wasteful and potentially dangerous. Image: Pixabay


While one of the biggest producers of battery metals and one of the hottest markets for energy storage globally, Australia still lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to recycling. But, a new industry partnership sealed between Korean battery maker LG Chem and Australian battery recycler Envirostream holds a promise to improve the state of affairs.

“This valuable partnership aims to develop safe and innovative management solutions to increase Australia’s low recovery rates concerning batteries, which is an increasing threat to the Australian environment,” the battery manufacturer said in a statement.

With increasing number of energy storage systems deployed both on-grid and off-grid around Australia, the topic of li-ion battery waste is slowly but surely moving to the forefront. This year alone, the nation’s storage demand is set to triple with over 70,000 Australian households expected to install battery storage, according to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Moving forward, around 450,000 energy storage systems could be installed in Australia by 2020 under a high growth scenario presented in the Australian Energy Storage Market Analysis published by the Smart Energy Council last year.

LG Chem batteries could account for a notable share of new installs. The manufacturer’s RESU models are among the eligible systems in state governments’ battery schemes, such as the Queensland government‘s loans and grants and the South Australia Home Battery Scheme, as well as AGL’s 5 MW/12 MWh Adelaide VPP, which is using Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries and the LG Chem RESU 10h-SolarEdge combination. While it will take years before they wear off and are decommissioned, LG Chem batteries will be heading to the recycler.

Envirostream’s technology is said to be able to recover 95% of the resources from end-of-life batteries, which are then converted into raw materials for new batteries resulting in a circular economy. According to LG Chem, Envirostream recycled 298,240 kilograms of batteries last year.

Current reports suggest that Australia recycles only between 2 and 6% of batteries that reach the end of life. According to research conducted by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) last year, only 2% of Australia’s annual 3,300 tons of lithium-ion battery waste is recycled, with waste predicted to grow by at least 300% each year by 2036.

“We’re extremely proud to be able to carve a new path towards preserving our precious planet through this invaluable partnership with Envirostream”, said Jamie Allen, General Manager from LG Chem Australia, “Starting with Australia, we hope this provides the opportunity to expand sustainable options for lithium-ion battery disposal.”

Recycling efforts in Australia

While it presently may not be economic to use recycled material for lithium ion batteries, it is foreseeable that, as demand from the rapidly developing electro-mobility and energy storage industries grows, it does become so in the near future. But, recycling is not only important as a means of recovery of valuable metals, but also as a way of ensuring proper collection, disposal and processing due to potential thermal runaway reactions.

Touted as Australia’s only facility for shredding li-ion batteries, Envirostream entered another partnership earlier this year with Lithium Australia, an ASX-listed company which aspires to ‘close the loop’ on the energy-metal cycle.

The two companies are seeking to integrate their processes. Envirostream will shred spent batteries and generate a powder containing the critical battery minerals ready for refining. Meanwhile, Lithium Australia is creating a flowsheet to process these powders to liberate the nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium chemicals required for battery cathodes. It is also developing methods for recovering graphite from the battery anode.

Under the partnership, Lithium Australia will acquire an 18.9% stake in Envirostream, which comes with a price tag of $600,000 in cash and Lithium Australia scrip. The acquisition is expected to be finalised by mid-August.

Last year, Lithium Australia successfully produced lithium-ion batteries from tri-lithium phosphate sourced directly from a mine waste. It also reported outstanding results in lithium recovery in excess of 90%, using its SiLeach process at the ANSTO Minerals pilot plant in New South Wales.

Australian lithium developer Neometals has also joined the ranks of battery recyclers. The company took its lithium‐ion battery recycling technology to the floor at a pilot plant in Canada earlier this year.

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