“Today we can provide sustainable technology and equipment for the entire lithium, nickel and cobalt production chains. The project scopes can range from equipment packages to plant deliveries. Equally important is the fact that we can support our customers in process design with our comprehensive testing and research capabilities,” explains Mikko Rantaharju, Vice President, Hydrometallurgy at Metso.
Lithium is one of the most used minerals in battery manufacturing. It can be extracted either from brines or lithium-bearing ores, such as spodumene. Metso’s offering covers complete processes for both. For the hard-rock based spodumene concentrates, Metso has developed an acid- and sulphate-free soda pressure-leaching process. It is one of the most environmentally sustainable processes available for lithium production.
Besides lithium, other critical minerals like nickel and cobalt play an important role in the battery manufacturing chain, either in battery chemistry or in other components. Metso has a comprehensive and sustainable process technology offering also for these minerals.
Recycling of battery black mass is becoming an important means to complement primary battery metals supply and to reduce the carbon footprint of the battery supply chain. Metso’s hydrometallurgical battery black mass recycling process enables the sustainable recovery of critical metals for re-use in new battery production or in other applications.
“Our strength in battery minerals process design is based on the deep concentrator and hydrometallurgical knowledge we have gained through working with our mining customers around the world. We can support our battery industry customers already from the early stages of the project. Process simulations are essential in the piloting phase, supporting process and equipment design, training, and plant operation. For this purpose, we use our unique metallurgical digital twin Geminex, which is based on Metso’s proprietary HSC-Sim software for predictive process simulations,” says Don Simola, Director of Metso’s Battery Chemicals business.
“The battery market is very active, and we are currently working with several lithium processing and battery recycling projects that are in the study, piloting, engineering or delivery phases,” concludes Simola.