Lithion Technologies Opens First Commercial Critical Mineral Extraction Plant

Lithion Technologies Building

(Credit: Lithion Technologies)

by | Jun 5, 2024

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Lithion Technologies has announced the completion of its first commercial critical mineral extraction plant, Lithion Saint-Bruno, located in St-Bruno-de-Montarville near Montreal, Canada. This milestone marks a significant step in the company’s mission to recycle lithium-ion batteries and create a circular supply of strategic materials.

Pioneering Efforts in Battery Recycling

Over the past several months, Lithion’s team has worked tirelessly to build the first lithium-ion battery critical mineral extraction plant in North America’s northeast. Every piece of equipment, many of which were custom-made, has been installed to suit Lithion’s unique technologies and processes. The plant is now in the commissioning phase to ensure its innovative processes operate safely and effectively. Lithion Saint-Bruno employs 20 dedicated team members, known as Lithioneers, and will eventually expand to employ 60 people.

Strategic Partnerships and Expansion

During the plant’s construction, Lithion secured several multi-year battery feedstock agreements and began initial battery treatment steps such as dismantling. These strategic agreements involve local partners as well as major corporations from Canada, the United States, and international markets, all part of the electric vehicle ecosystem. The continuous influx of recycling demands and ongoing partnership discussions highlight the critical need Lithion addresses.

Lithion’s Saint-Bruno facility is the first of many planned plants aimed at realizing the company’s vision of powering the world with the greenest batteries available. An upcoming storage facility in the USA will support Lithion’s North American operations, with plans to deploy similar plants nationwide. Lithion’s expertise in transborder transportation and logistics will ensure a steady supply to these plants, offering a turnkey service that simplifies the complex and costly aspects of lithium-ion battery recycling. A similar expansion strategy is underway in Europe.

Innovative Recycling Process

To achieve sustainable battery materials circularity, Lithion has developed a two-step recycling process with a significantly smaller environmental impact than mining. The first step at Lithion Saint-Bruno involves extracting the critical minerals concentrate, or black mass, from batteries and non-conforming products. This black mass contains lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and graphite. The second step, a hydrometallurgy process, separates and purifies the black mass to produce high-purity strategic materials for new battery production. Lithion is currently selecting a site for this plant.

Leadership Perspectives

Benoit Couture, President and CEO of Lithion, emphasized that this is just the beginning, with plans to build more recycling plants supported by a network of battery collection and storage facilities across Canada, the United States, and Europe.

The inauguration of Lithion’s first commercial plant strengthens Québec’s battery industry and paves the way for a battery circular economy. Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment, commended Lithion for its innovation and its role in the energy transition and resource recovery in Quebec.

Ludovic Grisé Farand, Mayor of Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, praised the facility’s strategic location. It has become a central hub in the North American supply chain, attracting innovative companies like Lithion Technologies that bring high-quality jobs to the area.

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