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Electra makes first shipment of recycled nickel-cobalt produced at its Ontario refinery

An electric vehicle charges
Black mass is the industry term used to describe the material remaining once expired lithium-ion batteries are shredded and all casings removed. Pixabay

Electra Battery Materials Corporation has shipped its first customer shipment of nickel-cobalt produced at its refinery complex north of Toronto. The material shipped was created from recycled battery material. The nickel-cobalt mixed hydroxide precipitate product (MHP) was produced in the company's black mass recycling trial currently underway at its low-carbon hydrometallurgical refinery.

"The first customer delivery of product from our refinery marks another important milestone on the path to commercializing our black mass refining capabilities," said Trent Mell, CEO of Electra. "Since the trial's launch late in 2022, we have proven that our proprietary hydrometallurgical process works successfully, produces high-quality products, including lithium carbonate and nickel-cobalt MHP, and supports compelling economics."

Black mass is the industry term used to describe the material remaining once expired lithium-ion batteries are shredded and all casings removed. Black mass contains high-value elements, including nickel, cobalt, lithium, manganese, and graphite that, once recovered, can be recycled to produce new lithium-ion batteries.
Electra launched its black mass trial at the end of December 2022, with the goal of validating its hydrometallurgical process in a plant-scale setting and testing its refinery equipment.
Electra's achievements since the start of its black mass trial include:

  • Electra confirmed that it successfully completed its first plant-scale recycling of black mass material and recovered critical metals needed for the electric vehicle battery supply chain using its proprietary hydrometallurgical process.
  • Electra has recovered lithium, a critical mineral needed for the electric vehicle EV battery supply chain. The recovery and subsequent production of a high-quality lithium carbonate product in a plant-scale setting validate Electra's proprietary hydrometallurgical process.
  • Electra also produced a mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) at contained metal grades for nickel and cobalt above quoted market specifications.
  • Recoveries within the MHP circuit, which produces the highest value product in the black mass recycling process, have been equivalent to and at times superior to bench scale results achieved previously.
  • Electra released highlights of a desktop scoping study based on a number of assumptions, including annual processing of 2,500 tonnes of black mass, metal prices using analysts' long-term forecasts, recovery rates consistent with those achieved to date, and U.S. $9.2 million of committed capital comprised of U.S. $5.9 million for capital costs and U.S. $3.3 million in working capital.
  • Electra received a commitment for a strategic investment from the Three Fires Group Inc., which is expected to help accelerate the company's battery recycling strategy in North America. Following a successful black mass recycling trial, the parties intend to prioritize the development of a permanent 2,500-tonne per annum recycling refinery while Electra continues to advance the construction of its cobalt sulfate refinery. Completion of the investment with Three Fires Group Inc. remains subject to Electra securing additional financing of not less than $10,000,000, and applicable regulatory approvals.

Company info

Bay Adelaide Centre
333 Bay Street, Suite 2400, P.O. Box 20
Toronto, ON
CA, M5H 2T6


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