May 12, 2023. Lead and zinc processing at Glencore’s Portovesme subsidiary in Italy could be replaced with a lithium ion battery recycling operation in partnership with Li-Cycle, the companies revealed on May 9.
The announcement came just weeks after Batteries International reported that a review into the future of lead smelting and refining at Portovesme (pictured) was underway.
Glencore and Canada-based Li-Cycle have signed a letter of intent to jointly study the feasibility of — and later develop — a hub facility at Portovesme to produce materials including nickel, cobalt and lithium from recycled batteries.
The definitive feasibility study will start mid-2023 and should be completed by mid-2024.
Subject to a final investment decision, the partners say construction of the hub could follow with commissioning in late 2026 to early 2027.
Glencore’s global head of recycling Kunal Sinha said if the repurposing of the site goes ahead, Portovesme would become the group’s first facility to produce battery-grade lithium.
This will enable Glencore to “truly close the loop for our European OEM and gigafactory customers across all aspects of the supply chain,” he said.
The two companies have not said whether existing lead and zinc smelting operations could continue at Portovesme alongside the lithium recycling hub.
Li-Cycle said last October that it had started commercial operations at its Alabama lithium ion battery recycling facility in the US — the company’s fourth such plant after three others in New York, Arizona and Ontario.