Lithium Australia’s partial subsidiary, Envirostream Australia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with South Korean company SungEel HiTech for the sale of its recycled battery metals.

As part of the agreement, Envirostream will increase its mixed metal dust (MMD) shipments to SungEel, for refining into cobalt, nickel and lithium chemicals for the production of new lithium-ion batteries.

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

The company said it would recommence shipments of its MMD this month, following a recent expansion of its recycling facilities.

SungEel, which recovers critical energy metals from lithium-ion batteries scrap, has become South Korea’s, and one of the world's largest battery recyclers. The company will refine the MMD into chemicals for the production of new lithium-ion batteries, effectively closing the loop for the process.

Lithium Australia Managing Director Adrian Griffin said the company was working with Envirostream to roll out the latter's Australia-wide collection network and expand its shredding and separation capacities as rapidly as possible.

“The MoU with SungEel provides for immediate refining of the MMD that Envirostream produces,” he said.

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

“Closing the loop on the production of battery materials reduces the environmental footprint of the mining and processing aspects inherent in LIB production, improves sustainability and prevents the components of spent LIBs 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 an immediate and viable solution to the LIB disposal crisis in this country.”

Image: SungEel President Mr Kang Myung Yi and Envirostream Managing Director Andrew Mackenzie shake hands after signing the offtake MoU.