FILE PHOTO: The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in front of the company’s headquarters in Baar, Switzerland, July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
February 3, 2022
By Nick Carey
LONDON (Reuters) – Mining giant Glencore and electric vehicle (EV) battery startup Britishvolt will jointly develop a new UK battery recycling plant that will help reuse expensive key raw materials like cobalt and lithium, the two companies said on Thursday.
The plant will be built at the site of a Glencore operation in Northfleet, east of London and is set to launch in 2023.
The recycling facility will be able to process at least 10,000 tonnes (10 million kg) of lithium-ion batteries per year. The companies did not disclose their financial investment or how many jobs will be created.
But a source familiar with the plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the plant should employ up to 400 people. The plant will also process battery manufacturing scrap from Britishvolt’s planned battery factory in northern England.
As the auto industry gears up to shift to making only EVs – spurred on by proposed bans on fossil-fuel cars in the next decade or so – the pressure to produce environmentally and socially responsible batteries has increased.
Recycling batteries will also reduce the amount of cobalt or lithium Britain needs to import to make EVs.
“This recycling partnership complements our long-term supply agreement for responsible cobalt from our operations in Norway and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Glencore’s head cobalt trader David Brocas said in a statement.
Last year Britishvolt and Glencore signed a long-term cobalt supply deal and the mining giant owns an undisclosed stake in the startup.
Last month Britishvolt secured UK government backing for its battery plant in Blyth, unlocking 1.7 billion pounds ($2.30 billion) in private funding.
When the 3.8 billion pound, 45 gigawatt-hour (GWh) plant is fully operational in 2027 it should be able to produce battery packs for over 450,000 EVs annually.
($1 = 0.7376 pounds)
(Reporting By Nick Carey;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)