Glencore and Britishvolt joint venture will process over 10,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries per year
Glencore has entered a battery recycling joint venture with strategic partner Britishvolt to develop an ecosystem for battery recycling in the UK. This ecosystem will be anchored at a new recycling plant located at the Britannia Refined Metals operation. BRM will continue with its current production and trading operations.
The project sees a return to recycling for BRM, securing existing jobs and creating new ones. Once complete, the plant will be Glencore and Britishvolt's first battery recycling facility in the UK with an expected processing capacity of a minimum of 10,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries per year, including but not limited to valuable battery manufacturing scrap, portable electronics batteries, and full EV packs. The facility will process all Britishvolt's battery manufacturing scrap from their factory in Blyth.
The facility is expected to be operational by mid-2023 with the long-term aim of being 100 percent powered by renewable energy. The partnership will also look to develop other recycling activities such as the refining of black mass into battery-grade raw materials.
The joint venture will leverage Glencore's recycling experience across end-of-life materials such as discarded electronics, copper/alloy scraps, and black mass. Both companies believe that battery recycling will form a key part of the energy transition. The aim is to help support the creation of a circular economy that supplies recycled materials and minerals back into the battery supply chain.
"We are excited to deepen our partnership with Britishvolt," said David Brocas, head cobalt trader at Glencore. "Both companies are united in their ambition to further the energy and mobility transition. Glencore has decades of recycling experience across multiple disciplines (e-waste/copper scrap/battery). This recycling partnership complements our long-term supply agreement for responsible cobalt from our operations in Norway and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We believe the opportunity to utilize BRM's operations as a cutting-edge battery recycling facility will help support the development of a UK battery recycling industry. It will also play a part in furthering the UK's climate ambitions as well as Glencore's as we work towards net zero total emissions by 2050."
"This exciting project adds much to our existing relationship with Glencore supplying Britishvolt with responsibly-sourced cobalt," said Timon Orlob, global chief operating officer, Britishvolt. "Recycling is key to a successful energy transition and has always been a major part of Britishvolt's business model. We've been looking for the perfect partner to help kickstart a UK battery recycling industry and FTSE 100-listed Glencore has expert historical experience in recycling. This JV will help us both to create a truly sustainable battery value chain, create jobs, and develop new battery recycling technologies. Both Britishvolt and Glencore are fully committed to reducing carbon across the supply chain."
The partnership also aims to research how to make the recycling of EV batteries easier and more cost-effective, maximizing their supply chain value, and influence legislation, including increasing regulation of recycling and ESG requirements.
Britishvolt's plant will reuse a site that was previously home to the UK's largest coal-fired power station.