Lawsuits filed against Aqua Metals, company resolves technical problem

A court deadline to apply for the position of lead plaintiff against battery recycling firm Aqua Metals closed on February 13, a day after the firm announced it had approved a solution to a ‘sticky lead’ problem with its technology.

Three separate lawsuits were filed with the US District Court, Northern District of California, with complaints going back to May 2016 against the firm. A lead plaintiff will be selected to represent all of the investors and the suits will be consolidated into one case before going in front of a judge.

The complaints include: Aqua Metals’ breaking and separating process not operating reliably or efficiently; breaking and separating negatively impacting output; Aqua Metals modules being used for experimentation and not production; module operators assisting with lead removal; the ramp-up process being hindered or delayed; the release of false and misleading statements regarding business operations and prospects; and Aqua Metals being aware of and ignoring material unresolved deficiencies in its recycling process which prevented large-scale development.

The filing of the lawsuits, as such, does not mean that any wrongdoing has occurred but that possible evidence of this may be shown in a court of law.

Meanwhile, Aqua Metals soldiers on. On February 12, the company announced the success of its solution to a ‘sticky lead’ problem, in which lead recovered during the company’s Aqua Refining process had been left hanging on the module’s exit chutes.

An electrolyser retro-fit design installed on one full module had been operated for more than 20 hours over a four-day period.

Lead produced in the process has been converted into ingots, the company said, and the electrolyser is being applied to all 16 AquaRefining modules.

The announcement of the solution caused a boost to the firm’s share price which leapt from $1.62 to close on February 15 at $2.79. This is above Aqua Metals’ stock offering price of $2.10 a share in December but a far cry from its peak last March of nearly $22.