Electra Battery Materials and Three Fires Group are forming a joint venture to recycle lithium-ion battery waste in Ontario, Canada.
Electra and Three Fires Group will collaborate to source and process lithium-ion battery waste generated by electric vehicles, energy storage systems, and battery cells. The two will use Electra’s black mass processing capabilities to recover valuable elements used in the batteries, including lithium, nickel, cobalt, and graphite.
The waste will be processed at a facility that will be located in southern Ontario that will produce black mass material. That material will then be further refined at refined using Electra’s hydrometallurgical process at its plant near Toronto to recover valuable materials that can be reused.
As part of the agreement, Electra and Three Fires Group will also work to establish a net-zero industrial facility that can be used to shred and separate lithium-ion batteries and produce black mass material. The agreement calls for them to plan, fund, and build the battery waste recycling facility.
“Ontario is quickly emerging as an important center in the global EV supply chain, potentially providing economic prosperity for generations to come,” said Reggie George, executive director of special projects and partnerships for Three Fires Group. “Critical to this success will be ensuring that all manufacturing activities related to the EV supply chain are carried out sustainably and responsibly.”
Several automobile companies are planning electric vehicle facilities across the treaty areas of the Three Fires Confederacy in southwestern Ontario, including Volkswagen, LG-Stellantis, Toyota, and GM CAMI. Additionally, the region is seeing an increase in grid-connected battery storage systems.
Electra, which also signed a benefits agreement with the Métis Nation of Ontario in 2022, said the joint venture will increase the opportunity for manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries in the region to recover and reuse valuable and scarce materials as well as lower their carbon emissions from production. A report from Markets and Markets estimates the lithium-ion battery recycling market to grow to $35.1 billion by 2031, up from $6.5 billion last year.
Three Fires Group represents several First Nations in Ontario, including Caldwell First Nation and Stony Point First Nation, and supports First Nation investments in non-fossil fuel and clean energy projects generally aligned with the Ontario government’s energy supply acquisition strategy, according to the group. Electra says it operates the only cobalt sulfate refinery in North America, which the company says can produce enough of the material for 1.5 million electric vehicles per year, and also has projects in Quebec and Idaho.