Glencore and Moroccan mining group Managem have signed an agreement to produce cobalt from recycled nickel and lithium at Managem's CTT Hydrometallurgical Refinery at Guemssa, Morocco, to meet the growing demand for minerals in the electric vehicle (EV) industry.
As part of the deal, the companies would enter a five-year tolling agreement for c1.2kt of recycled cobalt annually and nickel hydroxide and lithium carbonate.
Imad Toumi, chairman and chief executive officer of Managem, said demand for cobalt would grow "significantly" in the next decade, driven mainly by the green energy transition, as "most actors in the supply chain seek to ensure materials are sourced sustainably".
Toumi claimed recycling would play a "crucial role" in addressing the demand for sustainability in the supply chain and that Managem is "fully engaged" in supporting the global circular economy.
"This partnership with Glencore represents an exciting step up in our development in this field," he said.
The partnership is conditional on a feasibility study to assess the commercial viability of modifying and deploying the CTT Refinery for recovering cobalt, nickel and lithium from black mass, a refinery feed comprised of recycled lithium-ion batteries.
The study will focus on achieving high recoveries and a low carbon footprint and is expected to be completed by the end of Q1 2022.
David Brocas, head cobalt trader at Glencore, said the recycled cobalt and other commodities are set to play "a pivotal role" in decarbonising energy consumption and "delivering the electric vehicle revolution."