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Primobius targets North American EV battery recycling

  • Market: Metals
  • 27/05/21

Australian-German joint-venture firm Primobius has entered into an initial agreement with Canadian steel producer Stelco towards establishing a plant to extract and recycle battery metals from electric vehicles (EVs) in North America.

The agreement contemplates the formation of a 50:50 joint venture to recycle battery packs from scrap and end-of-life EVs, Perth-based Neometals said. It owns half of Primobius, with the other half owned by German engineering firm SMS.

The initial agreement will examine the business case for a facility to process battery cells through Primobius' refining process, which has been proven at trials in Germany to recover lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese.

Primobius, which is planning a 18,250 t/yr lithium-ion battery recycling operation in Germany and has an initial agreement with Japanese trading firm Itochu to recycle stationary energy storage batteries, will be expected to supply and construct a recycling plant with a nominal 20,000 t/yr battery cell processing capacity. Stelco, which supplies steel products to the automotive, construction, energy and appliance sectors, will arrange the supply of battery cell feed to the plant to be built next to its proposed vehicle recycling operation.

"The Stelco focus on securing much larger end of life volumes of electric vehicles provides potential feed for significantly larger scaler plants than those required to cater to the volumes of production scrap from lithium-ion battery cell production," Neometals' managing director Chris Reed said.

Neometals cited research showing that five battery mega-factories (super-sized producers of lithium-ion battery cells for the EV market) are in production in North America, with the US expected to have the second-largest megafactory capacity after China by 2025. EV batteries are expected to have an average lifespan of around eight years.


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17/07/24

BHP posts higher nickel output after disruptions

BHP posts higher nickel output after disruptions

Singapore, 17 July (Argus) — Australian resources group BHP lifted its nickel production during April-June as it recovered from planned maintenance and wet weather disruptions in the previous quarter. BHP's refined nickel production for April-June rose by 22pc against the previous quarter and by 4.5pc from a year earlier to 23,000t. The increased output was a result of a low base in the previous quarter with planned maintenance at the Kwinana refinery in Western Australia (WA) and poor weather conditions in March, the firm said. Total refined nickel output for the 2023-24 fiscal ending 30 June was 81,600t, up by 2pc from the same period last year. BHP on 11 July announced that it will temporarily suspend operations at its WA nickel businesses from October, on the back of nickel oversupply and an anticipated nickel price downtrend. BHP has also decided to halt operations at its Kambalda concentrator earlier in February, placing it into a care and maintenance phase from June. Mining and processing operations at the Kwinana refinery, Kalgoorlie smelter and Mount Keith and Leinster mines will be suspended, while development of the West Musgrave project will be put on hold. BHP will implement a care and maintenance programme to ensure the safety and integrity of its mines and infrastructure. It will invest around $300mn/yr following the transition period to support a potential restart of the facility. The transition period will start from July, with operations to be halted in October and completely stopped by December. BHP intends to review the closure by February 2027. BHP expects to record negative earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of around $300mn for 2023-24 and sustain a further $300mn pre-tax non-cash impairment charge following the temporary suspension decision. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Rio Tinto to boost 2H Australian iron ore shipments


16/07/24
News
16/07/24

Rio Tinto to boost 2H Australian iron ore shipments

Sydney, 16 July (Argus) — UK-Australian mining firm Rio Tinto must ship at least 165mn t of iron ore from Western Australia (WA) during July-December, after a derailment disrupted exports in April-June, cutting first half sales to 158mn t. The firm maintained its WA iron ore shipments guidance of 323mn-338mn t for 2024 on a 100pc basis, despite losing six days of port deliveries because of a derailment in May. It shipped 80.3mn t of iron ore from WA on a 100pc basis during April-June, up from 78mn t for January-March , when cyclone-season weather disrupted exports. It was also up by 2pc from April-June 2023, as productivity gains offset ore depletion. The target of 165mn-180mn t for July-December is achievable for Rio Tinto, which often boosts shipments in the second half of a calendar and its financial year. It shipped 170.7mn t during July-December 2023 and 161.7mn t for January-June 2023, for a total of 332mn t in 2023. Low-grade SP10 iron ore made up 17pc of its WA sales during January-June, up from 14pc through 2023, 11pc in 2022 and zero in 2015. The firm warned that SP10 levels are expected to remain elevated until new mining projects are delivered, which is subject to approvals and heritage clearance. The proportion of the high-grade Pilbara Blend fell to 58pc for January-June from 61pc through 2023, 64pc in 2022 and 73pc in 2015. Rio Tinto is developing higher grade deposits, such as its 40mn t/yr Rhodes Ridge project, to try to reverse the grade decline in WA. The firm maintained its 2024 cash cost guidance for WA iron ore at $21.75-23.50, while warning this would be the top end of this for January-June because of the lower volumes sold. It achieved an average price of $97.30/wet metric tonne (wmt) fob WA in January-July, down from $98.60/wmt in the same period last year. The equivalent price for January-June 2024 at an 8pc moisture assumption is $105.80/dry metric tonne (dmt) fob WA. The Argus ICX price for 62pc Fe fines averaged $117.33/dmt cfr Qingdao in January-June, down from $118/dmt in the same period last year. The Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) — in which Rio Tinto owns 59pc — sold 8.65mn t in January-June, up 7pc on the same period last year. It is expected to raise production during July-December with better seasonal conditions to produce as much as 19.5mn t in 2024. By Jo Clarke Rio Tinto iron ore shipments (mn t) Apr-Jun '24 Jan-Mar '24 Apr-Jun '23 Jan-Jun '24 Jan-Jun '23 Pilbara Blend Lump 15.83 15.63 17.76 31.47 36.49 Pilbara Blend Fines 31.34 28.48 33.67 59.81 69.02 Robe Valley Lump 2.52 2.31 2.17 4.83 4.16 Robe Valley Fines 5.84 5.55 4.70 11.39 8.96 Yandicoogina Fines (HIY) 11.36 12.23 12.56 23.59 26.25 SP10 Lump 5.14 4.61 1.65 9.75 3.34 SP10 Fines 8.28 9.22 6.61 17.50 13.45 Total WA iron ore shipments 80.31 78.03 79.12 158.34 161.66 IOC iron ore shipments 4.13 4.52 4.43 8.65 8.05 Source: Rio Tinto Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Cliffs to buy Canadian steelmaker Stelco


15/07/24
News
15/07/24

Cliffs to buy Canadian steelmaker Stelco

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Vietnam’s Vinfast cuts EV sales goal, delays US plant


15/07/24
News
15/07/24

Vietnam’s Vinfast cuts EV sales goal, delays US plant

Singapore, 15 July (Argus) — Vietnam-based electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Vinfast Auto has lowered its 2024 EV delivery goal and delayed its North Carolina EV plant's first production by three years, because of economic headwinds. "We have adopted a more prudent outlook that is carefully calibrated to near-term headwinds, taking into full consideration the realities of market volatility and potential challenges," said the chairwoman of Vinfast's board of directors Le Thi Thu Thuy on 12 June. Vinfast now expects to deliver 80,000 EVs in 2024, down from the 100,000 units it set earlier this year and having missed its delivery goal of 40,000-50,000 last year. Vinfast delivered 21,747 EVs in January-June, almost doubling on the year, according to the company. Its EV sales over April-June stood at 12,058 units, up by 24pc on the quarter and 26pc on the year. It started building a $2bn EV factory in US North Carolina's Chatham county last year, with output scheduled to begin in 2025 . But the firm has now made the "strategic decision" to push it back to 2028, Vinfast said. VinFast earlier this year said that it would invest $2bn in south India's Tamil Nadu state to develop its EV sector, including building an EV plant that can produce 150,000 units/yr. The plant will be "opened" in the first half of 2025, said Vingroup's chairman Pham Nhat Vuong last month, adding that India will be Vinfast's biggest Asia market. The global battery and EV sectors have been facing various economic and geopolitical headwinds. This includes persistently elevated interest rates that are curbing consumer spending, and rising geopolitical market barriers starting with the US and EU's tariffs on Chinese EVs, as well as Canada looking into potential punitive duties on Chinese EVs. By Joseph Ho Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Germany's Aurubis copper smelter back from maintenance


12/07/24
News
12/07/24

Germany's Aurubis copper smelter back from maintenance

London, 12 July (Argus) — Germany's Aurubis today announced that its Hamburg copper smelter returned to service on 11 July from the largest maintenance shutdown in the company's history that began 7 May. A restart is now under way following the €95mn 60-day maintenance that included an overhaul of the flash smelter, installation of heat exchangers in the contact acid plant, as well as the installation of a tap hold drill and tamping machine for improved safety of copper slag tapping. Hydrogen-ready anode furnaces were also installed as measures to improve sustainability. Investments in automation are set to improve efficiency and extend the frequency of planned maintenance rounds to three years from two. The Hamburg smelter's outage has exacerbated sulphuric acid tightness in Europe , and the operational restart is expected to provide some relief to the market. This comes in addition to the lack of availability of molten sulphur in the region, leading to shortages of sulphur burnt acid , which has prompted some consumers to replace burnt acid with smelter acid, lifting demand. Aurubis produced 1.19mn t of sulphuric acid during the first six months of the 2023-24 financial year (October-March), up by 1pc on the same period a year earlier. Output at Aurubis' Hamburg smelter rose by 11pc to 512,000t in the period, while output from the Pirdop smelter saw a 6pc decline on the period to 679,000t . For the first three months of the year, Aurubis produced 598,000t of acid, unchanged from the same quarter of 2022-23, as increased output at its Hamburg smelter offset a decline from Bulgaria's Pirdop plant. Production at Hamburg totalled 258,000t from January-March. By Maria Mosquera Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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