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Li-Cycle targets over 6,500 mt black mass output in 2022

Highlights

Arizona, Alabama sites to begin production this year

Q1 revenue jumps as operations ramp up

  • Author
  • Nick Lazzaro
  • Editor
  • Debiprasad Nayak
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power Metals Petrochemicals

Li-Cycle plans to produce between 6,500 mt and 7,500 mt of battery metal-containing black mass from its growing North America battery recycling operations in 2022, company executives said March 17.

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The black mass production target will be achieved on the commissioning of Li-Cycle's Gilbert, Arizona, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, battery recycling facilities this year.

"The Arizona spoke (recycling facility) nearing completion, represents the next level in our innovation in spoke design with regards to scale and process capability," co-founder and Executive Chairman Tim Johnston said during an earnings call with investors. "The plant is the first of its kind, capable of processing full electric vehicle battery packs, making it safer and more labor efficient. The Alabama spoke is the same design as the Arizona spoke."

The Arizona facility is set to come online in the second quarter, with the Alabama plant commissioning expected to follow in the third quarter. Both operations will have the capacity to recycle 10,000 mt/year of used lithium batteries to produce black mass, an intermediate raw material that can be further processed to yield various battery metals.

Li-Cycle currently operates two smaller recycling facilities in Kingston, Ontario, and Rochester, New York, each with a 5,000 mt/year battery recycling capacity.

The Toronto-based company currently sells most of its black mass to third parties, but CEO Ajay Kochhar said it will increasingly direct more output to its proposed Rochester black mass processing hub facility when it comes online in 2023.

The Rochester hub will have the capacity to process 35,000 mt/year of black mass and produce nickel sulfate, cobalt sulfate and lithium carbonate.

Li-Cycle posted a $28.5 million income on revenue of $3.8 million in the first quarter, rising from a loss of $6.8 million on sales of $1 million in the year-ago quarter.

Kochhar said revenues and profits rose as Li-Cycle's existing operations ramped up to increase Q1 production by more than 190% year over year.

The battery recycler produced about 700 mt of black mass in Q1, compared with about 240 mt in the same quarter last year, according to the company's earnings presentation.