This program will provide innovative pathways to mine, extract, refine and recycle battery minerals, metals and materials to produce battery grade products. It will also demonstrate feasible precursor production in Australia and pilot plant testing for battery manufacturing.

This program aims to develop sustainable, traceable, cost-effective production pathways for refined battery metals and materials from their primary (natural) and secondary (recycled) resources.

The production pathways will meet the strict quality requirements of battery component precursors while ensuring Australian provenance throughout the value chain.

The five research themes are:

  • Environmental and waste management strategies from extraction of materials to the end of life of batteries;
  • Cost-competitive resources processing of battery minerals;
  • Premium quality battery grade materials;
  • Battery recycling, repurposing and reuse; and
  • Battery component precursor production.

Program Impacts

The investment in the resources, processing and recycling battery development program will produce the following key outputs:

  • Evidence-based processing strategies to allow repurposing and reuse of wastes or transformed process routes to convert wastes to useful co-products across the complete battery industries value chain;
  • Characterisation and mapping of Australian battery mineral resources, wastes and battery material intermediates and geological/metallurgical tags to identify Australian provenance and process routes for treatment;
  • Mass and energy balance flowsheets supported by experimental outcomes for novel processes. Waste generation, reagents, energy, water consumption will be mapped to the operating industrial ecosystem with which it interacts. The is applicable to metal extraction from both primary (natural) resources and secondary (recycled) resources;
  • Pilot demonstration plants that verify process technologies to extract and refine battery metals and materials from primary and secondary (recycled) resources, and to produce precursors; and
  • Tested and validated battery component (cathode, anode, and electrolyte) precursor exemplars with a guidance database capturing the role of impurity type, concentration range and particulate nature.

Projects

Process Legacy

To maximise economically viable co-products and minimise repository use for mining and processing operations, all within a regulatory acceptable framework.

Project Lead:  Prof Arie van Riessen and Prof Evan Jamieson, Curtin University

Innovative Nickel and Cobalt Extraction Technologies

Economical alternative leach technologies for extraction of nickel and cobalt from waste streams and operation of batteries

Project Lead:  Dr Elsayed Oraby, WA School of Mines

Enhancing Lithium Extraction

Improved technology for the extraction of lithium minerals and refining of battery grade lithium chemicals in Australia.

Chemical Processing of Vanadium and Manganese Ores for Battery Materials

Developing new and improved processes for vanadium and manganese extraction and purification, and the optimisation of vanadium bearing electrolytes of Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (VRFBs).

Project Lead:  Prof Aleks Nikoloski, Murdoch University

Cathode Precursor Production Pilot Plant in Western Australia

Increasing the value chain of battery manufacturing in Western Australia by developing Pilot Plant and establishing technical and processing capabilities to manufacture nickel-rich cathode active
material precursors.

Project Lead:  Dr Mark Aylmore, Curtin University

Recycling, Reuse and Repurposing of Spent Batteries

Reduction of battery waste for a more sustainable and circular economy for Australian battery industries.  The FBICRC has approached CSIRO to prepare a scene setting report.