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Düsseldorf, September 16, 2021

Construction of battery recycling demonstration plant completed

Commissioning of stage 2 now underway

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The feed to Stage 2 (black mass) is processed in the leach circuit to extract cobalt, nickel, manganese copper and lithium.

Primobius GmbH has initiated the commissioning phase for the hydrometallurgical refining circuits in its showcase lithium-ion battery (LIB) recycling demonstration plant at SMS group’s Hilchenbach location.

The battery recycling joint venture between Australian Securities Exchange listed Neometals Ltd (ASX:NMT) and SMS group, a privately owned German plant manufacturer, plans to recover all the LIB constituent materials with an efficient and environmentally friendly recycling solution that re-uses the products, including the generation of high-purity cathode chemicals for the battery supply chain.

The demonstration plant comprises a fully built shredding and beneficiation circuit (stage 1) and a hydrometallurgical refining circuit (stage 2). Stage 2 commissioning activities completed so far include water testing the entire leaching and solvent extraction circuits, leaching intermediate active materials (“black mass”) from stage 1, filtering the carbon anode residue, and commencing the first stage of solvent extraction (copper). Commissioning of the remaining solvent extraction steps (to recover cobalt, lithium, nickel, and manganese) will follow soon.

The demonstration plant, which has undergone extensive pilot trialing, will showcase Primobius’ integrated recycling solution in a dedicated, ongoing campaign to reduce LIBs, which are donated by EV and stationary energy storage partners, to their constituent materials for re-use. Product outputs from the trial will be evaluated by potential customers and off-takers.

“The demonstration plant trial will provide an opportunity for car, consumer electronics and battery manufacturers to verify Primobius’ capability to safely, sustainably and ethically dispose of hazardous LIBs to comply with all regulatory obligations,” says Horst Krenn, CEO of Primobius. Perhaps most importantly, the demonstration plant will highlight an opportunity for partners to watch their spent batteries go into the process and a range of products come out at the other end for supply chain evaluation.

The integrated trials are expected to start in October 2021 and finish by the end of November 2021. Thereafter, the demonstration plant will be modified and sections moved to meet the requirements of the 10-tpd shredder plant, which is due to offer commercial LIB recycling services from Q1 2022.

About Primobius

Primobius is an incorporated joint venture company owned 50:50 by Australian Securities Exchange listed company Neometals Ltd and SMS group GmbH.

Primobius intends to commercialize a joint recycling technology, offering a flexible and sustainable method for recovering valuable lithium, nickel, cobalt, and other materials from expended and scrap electric vehicle and consumer electronics LIBs (

SMS group is renowned worldwide for its future-oriented technologies and outstanding service for the metals industry. The company applies its 150 years of experience and its digital know-how to provide the industry continuously with innovative products and processes – even beyond its core business – and generates worldwide sales of more than 2.7 billion euros. SMS is the right partner for challenging projects, and supports its customers throughout the lifecycle of their plants, enabling profitable and resource-efficient value creation chains. Paving the way for a carbon-neutral and sustainable metals industry is the company’s stated goal. As a global player with German roots, SMS takes responsibility for its about 14,000 employees.


SMSgroup Rötzer, Kilian

Kilian Rötzer
Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing
Phone : +49 211 881-4127

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