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Battery collections give green gains to Lithium Australia

Updated: May 6

Lithium Australia has made significant upgrades to its Campbellfield battery recycling facility during the March quarter. Credit: File

Lithium Australia has recorded green gains after mixed battery collections by subsidiary Envirostream jumped more than 30 per cent to 364 tonnes in the March quarter, compared to 275 tonnes in the December quarter.

According to the parent company’s latest quarterly report, Envirostream also generated a cash gross profit of almost $1 million in the nine months to March, compared to a cash gross loss of $1.27 million in the corresponding period last year.

The company says Envirostream’s battery recycling feed sources continue to thrive through partnerships with LG, Battery World, Bunnings and many others. During the March quarter, a scoping study was initiated to assess future battery storage, sorting and processing infrastructure requirements and the number of sites and locations needed, while discussions were held towards long-term offtake agreements for mixed metal dust.

The subsidiary also completed an upgrade of water filtration systems at its Campbellfield facility and the company says it has improved safety, productivity, cost and environmental performance. The site was also afforded an increase to opening hours, providing a potential second shift to support further battery collection increases.

In Brisbane, wholly-owned Lithium Australia subsidiary VSPC undertakes research and development into the production of high-purity, high performance battery materials. Key products of the pilot plant are lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) and lithium manganese ferro phosphate (LMFP) cathode powders. During the March quarter, the LFP was independently tested against commercially available products by leading battery research company NOVONIX Battery Technology Solutions and was found to be the most stable of the three samples tested.

Lithium Australia has pivoted in recent times from its original purpose as a minerals explorer to concentrate on recycling technologies and lithium processing. It made a request to the ASX last November to be reclassified as a materials entity and not an explorer.

The company’s main ambitions now include growing its battery recycling business and commercialising a product to rival conventional lithium-ion batteries with its LFP cathode powders. Lithium Australia says demand for LFP represents more than half the global market for lithium-ion battery materials, claiming it is one of only a few entities outside China with the expertise to manufacture LFP powder of the highest quality.

The company is working towards building an LFP pilot plant and eventually wants to produce an annual minimum of 10,000 tonnes of LFP powder.

The recent pivot has not only given Lithium Australia a sharper focus on its direction, it has also led to a top-up for its coffers. In December, the company exited its stake in the Greenbushes South lithium project, selling its 20 per cent share to partner Galan Lithium for $2 million in cash and $1 million worth of Galan shares.

The deal also came with the first right of refusal to take up to 20 per cent of Galan’s share of LFP from Greenbushes and left the company with cash reserves of more than $11 million at the end of March, with no debt.

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