November 1, 2023: Proposals to launch a tentatively-named ‘Technical Excellence Council’ dedicated to supporting the secondary lead industry have taken a major step forward with the circulation of a draft discussion paper, a copy of which has been seen by Batteries International.
The initiative has its roots in a message by secondary lead industry veteran Mark Stevenson during the 8th International Secondary Lead & Battery Recycling Conference, held in Cambodia in September.
At the conference, Stevenson urged all sectors of the industry to work together — through a forum initially dubbed the ‘slag council’— to outline and define the terminology and nomenclature to be used in discussions and testwork.
The conference was told the secondary lead industry needed to get to grips with a myriad of issues, not least in defining slag and saying how it is produced and how it can be dealt with.
In the draft TEC paper, which has been widely circulated to key figures across the batteries and secondary lead industry, aims to pave the way to establishing a worldwide industry network to enhance “coordination and communication” to solve technical issues.
In addition, the proposed TEC could be a conduit for exchanging technical communications and act as an inter-industry data sharing platform to help solve issues that operations face daily, the paper says.
But it is proposed that the TEC should not be limited to waste streams and should also embrace discussions of other areas of operations, including improvements in occupational health and safety standards and new recovery technologies.
There are an estimated 250 secondary lead smelting operations across the globe, not including informal or illegal plants, according to the paper.
“Nearly every smelter has slag issues, and every issue is different to that of another smelter,” the paper says.
“Building the foundations for the industry will help us better understand the problems and, hopefully, lead to proper, sustained solutions.”
Photo: Doe Run Company