December 19, 2019: Lead battery recycling firm Aqua Metals has had to let 69 members of staff go after a fire destroyed all 16 AquaRefining modules last month, the company announced on December 16.
It says it has also stopped ‘various construction projects’, cancelled equipment orders, returned materials for refund and sold any remaining goods inventory.
“The company wishes only the best to these employees it had to release and has provided reasonable severance and assistance to support these great people who had contributed to our successes to date,” the company says.
Investigations continue into the cause of the fire, which broke out on November 29 and at one point reached the upper roofline of the AquaRefinery area.
The heat and smoke caused ‘significant damage’ to equipment in the AquaRefinery area, where all 16 modules were sited along with control wiring and other supporting infrastructure.
Aqua Metals says its processes and equipment had been idled and washed out since late September to enable ‘various capital upgrade projects’ to take place in that section of the building.
“These projects had been scheduled to be completed later in December as condition precedent to reactivate the AquaRefinery and run all 16 modules,” the company says.
“The company is diligently working on documenting the inventory of the losses of equipment, property, business interruption and immediate costs related to supporting these activities.”
It says direct inspection has been hindered because of safety requirements and that security had been ramped up throughout the premises.
While investigations continue, “we ask that our investors and other stakeholders be patient”, the company says.
“We have up to $50,000,000 in property casualty and business continuity and loss of production coverage and we are reviewing available insurance coverage,” said Steve Cotton, president and CEO of the firm.
“We will pursue all available claims for insurance recovery to restore the AquaRefinery to its pre-fire state and commencement of operations of all 16 AquaRefining modules.”