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Glencore, Li-Cycle to relocate pilot for Europe's largest EV battery recycling hub

Image Courtesy: Portovesme

Swiss mining group Glencore announced it would move its proposed pilot EV battery recycling plant outside Sardinia in Italy to speed up implementation of the project, but didn't say where the pilot would be relocated.

Even so, the company maintained its commitment to the original plan to set up Europe's largest EV battery recycling hub on the Italian island. The hub is expected to be commissioned around 2026-2027.

Glencore planned to set up a recycling hub in Portovesme, Sardinia, to recover lithium, cobalt and other materials from "black mass", the shredded material that is extracted from used car batteries. The company had announced the project – in partnership with Canadian company Li-Cycle – in May this year.

Sardinia was reportedly selected because Glencore has other industrial sites in the area (including a zinc sulphide operation of production capacity 100,000 tonnes per annum that was been shuttered), and the hub was expected to source black mass from Glencore's commercial network as well as Li-Cycle's Spoke network in Europe.

However, the two companies decided to move the testing and demonstration phase of the project outside Sardinia after the island's regional government refused to fast-track the project's environmental impact assessment. Italian media reports indicated the companies were considering several countries for the pilot plant, including in Europe and North America.

In an e-mailed statement, Glencore said: "This development does not immediately impact the feasibility assessment of the larger hub project."

"The definite feasibility study is ongoing and remains focused on Portovesme. This initiative is important for our recycling strategy and aligns with Italy's objectives for sustainable industry development," the statement said. 

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