Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Morocco's Managem to recycle cobalt near Marrakech

Written by Eric Apim on Thursday, January 27th 2022 à 11:20 | Read 1000 times

Glencore and Managem to produce recycled cobalt from black mass from lithium ion batteries (photo: Glencore)
Glencore and Managem to produce recycled cobalt from black mass from lithium ion batteries (photo: Glencore)
MOROCCO. The Swiss group Glencore announced on Wednesday 26 January 2022 that it had signed an agreement with the Moroccan company Managem (majority owned by Al Mada, the pan-African private equity fund) to produce cobalt from recycled cobalt, nickel and lithium. The recovery operation will take place in Guemassa (37 km south of Marrakech) in the hydrometallurgical refinery of the Compagnie de Tifnout Tiranimine (CTT), a Managem subsidiary.

The two partners will share their know-how. Glencore will contribute its long experience in the recycling of cobalt and nickel in its Sudbury (Canada) and Nikkelverk (Kristiansand - Norway) plants, which will supply the black mass (from lithium ion batteries) to CTT. And Managem, its lithium-ion battery recycling technology developed and tested in the pilot plant of the Reminex R&D centre (Managem subsidiary). This technology allows a high recovery rate of cobalt, nickel and lithium from the black mass.

Beforehand, a feasibility study will ensure that a high recovery rate is achieved, and therefore that the modification and deployment of the plant is commercially viable, as well as having a low carbon footprint. It will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2022. The refinery will be powered by at least 90% green energy from wind turbines.

A five-year tolling agreement

"Demand for cobalt is expected to increase significantly over the next decade, largely driven by the transition to green energy. Most players in the supply chain are looking to ensure that materials are sourced sustainably and we believe that recycling will play a crucial role in meeting this demand," commented Imad Toumi, CEO of Managem.

The two companies will enter into a five-year tolling agreement for approximately 2.2 kilo tonnes of recycled cobalt per year, as well as nickel hydroxide and lithium carbonate. Glencore will market the recycled products to its global network of customers in the mobile electronics and automotive sectors.

"As the world seeks to address the challenge of climate change, primary/recycled cobalt and other future raw materials are set to play a central role in the decarbonisation of energy consumption and the electric vehicle revolution. Glencore is already a leading producer, recycler and supplier of these commodities, which helps support our ambition to achieve total net zero emissions by 2050," says David Brocas, head of cobalt trading at Glencore.

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