The METALLICO consortium, made up of 23 partners comprising the entire value chain, has identified four case studies in Europe that will enable the recovery of metals such as lithium, cobalt, copper, manganese and nickel.

CIC energiGUNE, the Basque research center of reference in electrochemical energy storage, thermal energy storage and conversion and hydrogen technologies, is working on the possibility of recovering critical materials for batteries, such as lithium or cobalt, from waste from the mining and metallurgical industries. This research is part of the European METALLICO project, of which CIC energiGUNE– member of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance-BRTA- is part, together with 22 other entities and companies of the continent.

We are convinced that Europe has a much greater potential to produce critical raw materials than is believed; the problem is that until now it has been overly dependent on imports” has assured Nestor Antuñano, Principal Investigator of CIC energiGUNE in the METALLICO project. “With this project we are giving Europe a new opportunity so that it can position itself in a key strategic sector and minimize dependence on countries rich in this type of metals, such as China, South Africa or Australia”.

The METALLICO consortium comprises all the value chain, including mining and industrial sites with primary and secondary sources of critical and battery metals; experienced partners in the development of novel processes for the production of battery-grade materials; industrial end-users; and SMEs in the battery, cement, paint and ceramics sectors. Within this cluster, CIC energiGUNE is in charge of coordinating the validation of the final products recovered by different industrial users, as well as validating the elements obtained from the mining and metallurgic waste (Li2CO3 y CoSO4) in the battery-manufacturing sector.

CIC energiGUNE promotes the obtaining of critical metals for batteries from secondary resources of the mining and metallurgical industry

The need to develop a project such as METALLICO is supported, among other aspects, by the import data of the main metal used in today´s batteries: lithium. Today, the EU is 87% dependent on imports of lithium concentrates, and 100% on imports of refined compounds, since there is no refining in any country on the continent.

For its integral development, METALLICO includes four case studies in the European Union with possibilities of recovery of this type of materials: Li2CO3 suitable for batteries based on a primary deposit of spodumene-lepidolite (LIT); Cobalt and CoSO4 concentrates suitable for batteries from a secondary mine resource (CLC); and Copper, Cobalt, Manganese and Nickel concentrates from metallurgical slag from a lead refining company and secondary mine waste.

The partners that make up the METALLICO consortium, apart from CIC energiGUNE, are the following: Idener R&D (project leader); Technische Universitaet Bergakademie Freiberg; Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya; Siec Badawcza Lukasiewicz - Instytut Metali Niezelaznych; Teknologian Tutkimuskeskus; Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung; G.E.O.S.Ingenieurgesellschaft; Cementos La Cruz; Euroatomizado; Glencore Nikkelverk; Cobre las Cruces; Cetaqua, Corporacion Chilena de Investigación del Agua; Tharsis Mining; Politecnico di Torino; Asistencias Técnicas Clave; Radical Innovations Group; Minera Los Frailes; Lithium Iberia; DEC Gesellschaft Fur Chemischetechnik Und Biotechnologie; Geniki Metalleutiki Kai Metallourgiki Anonimi Etairia; and Omya International AG.

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