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North America Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Market Size, Share COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Chemistry (Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LCO), Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP), Lithium Manganese Oxide (LMO), Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (NCA), Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC)), By Source (Electronics, Electric Vehicles, Power Tools, Others), By Recycling Process (Physical/Mechanical, Hydrometallurgical, Pyrometallurgical) and Regional Forecast, 2021-2028
The North America lithium-ion battery recycling market size was USD 66.34 million in 2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 77.85 million in 2021 to USD 265.08 million in 2028 at a CAGR of 19.1% in the 2021-2028 period. The regional impact of COVID-19 has been unmatched and staggering, with witnessing a negative demand across the region amid the pandemic. Based on our regional analysis, the regional market exhibited a slow growth of 11.8% in 2020 compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019. The rise in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.
The extraordinary development in battery recycling worldwide has led to the growth for the increase in recycling infrastructures for lithium-ion batteries. Revolution in consumer electronics and automobiles has led to a huge shift towards battery-powered devices and vehicles, making lithium-ion batteries part of an important development. The growing use of lithium-ion batteries coupled with the increasing amount of batteries reaching their end-of-life has led to a rise in demand for lithium-ion battery recycling.
Blockades in Supply Chains and Shipment Channels Has Harmed Market Growth amid COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on almost all the sectors. Various industries suffered huge loss due to the nationwide lockdowns to control the spread of COVID-19 virus. Accordingly, the Lithium-ion Battery Recycling sector also suffered a considerable loss. As the market is massively dependent on the automobile and consumer electronics industry, the effect on these industries impacted the investment in the market.
The disruptions in supply chains and shipment transport channels affected the transport of used lithium-ion batteries to recycling facilities in other regions. This directly impacted the supply of used batteries to companies for recycling, which significantly impacted their operations.
Determination to Boost Commercialization of Recycling Process Technology is a Vital Trend
This industry has witnessed noteworthy development approaches by various industry players to augment their recycling capacities to push the marketplace. The establishment of new facilities is expected to greatly boost the industrialization rate. It is likely to generate high demand for new technology in the upcoming years.
For instance, Li-Cycle announced the inaugurated a new recycling plant, in December 2020, in Rochester, New York. The facility has a processing capacity of 10000 tons a year. It uses a hydrometallurgical recycling process and a wet chemistry method to give a 95% recycling rate. In April 2021, Li-Cycle Corp. announced building another recycling plant for electric car batteries in Gilbert, Arizona. It is the company’s second facility in the U.S. and third overall. It will be able to process up to 10,000 tons of spent batteries per year.
Strict Regulations to Forbid the Dumping of Unprocessed Waste to Aid Growth
All electronic wastes generate a lot of toxic wastes filling landfills. Lithium-ion batteries are categorized as hazardous electronic wastes as there have been fires in the absence of proper disposal. Also, electronic wastes generally tend to fill up empty lands and are seen as a huge problem today. Thus, the governments have passed certain norms to process chemical and electronic wastes before their disposal to combat the issue. This is expected to drive the North America lithium-ion battery recycling market growth in the upcoming years.
For instance, according to the Ontario Regulation 30/20, every manufacturer under section 12 is warranted to develop and operate a system for managing batteries in a performance period and is expected to implement a promotion and education program to raise public awareness of the producer’s efforts to collect, reduce, reuse, recycle and recover batteries and to encourage public participation in those efforts.
Government Regulations to Propel Utilization of Cleaner Power Sources and Unlock New Potentials
A growing predisposition towards the disposition of cleaner energy sources to provide energy for different applications is likely to hasten the market growth. The regional trend suggests a surge in the installation of lithium-ion batteries for significant energy storage and electric vehicles (EVs). The increasing placement of these batteries for various applications is anticipated to drive the replacement of old batteries with low productivities, hence, creating wastes for recycling opportunities.
According to the NREL report on Grid-Scale Battery Storage, the 2020 market for grid-scale battery storage in the U.S. is controlled by lithium-ion chemistries. Due to technological innovations and improved manufacturing capacity, lithium-ion chemistries have experienced a steep price decline of over 70% from 2010-2016, and are projected to decline further (Curry 2017).
As per the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. utility-scale battery storage capacity installed in 2017 was 240 MWh, which generated power of 120 MW, out of which lithium-ion batteries power over 90%. The rising utilization of lithium-ion batteries in grid-scale battery storage is growing their need to be replaced and recycled, stimulating the growth of the lithium-ion battery recycling market in the region.
Increasing Acceptance of Lithium-ion Battery EVs to Bolster Growth
Countries have witnessed a pattern shift towards electric vehicles to decrease the carbon output, supporting the industry stride. The increasing utilization of various electric vehicles over the years has caused large quantities of batteries progressing to their end-of-life(EOL). According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. car market declined 23% in 2020, but E.V. registrations did not fall as much as the overall market.
In 2020, 295000 new E.V.s were registered, of which about 78% were BEVs. Their sales share increased by 2%. Government incentives are reduced in 2020 due to the tax credits for Tesla and General Motors reaching their limit. The new car market reduced to 21% in Canada, however the new electric car registrations remained almost unchanged as compared to the previous year record of 51000. Canada is the 8th largest E.V. market, with over 40,000 sales in 2018. With the increasing adoption of electric vehicles, there is an increase in lithium-ion batteries reaching their end-of-life and eligible for recycling.
The growing environmental conscience among businesses and consumers coupled with the high adoption of electric vehicles in the U.S. and Canada can be considered a strong driver for this market.
High Capital Investments and Absence of Strict Policies is a Major Restraining Factor
The building of new infrastructure requires high initial spending and devoted supply and collection chains, restraining the lithium-ion battery recycling market. over, the lack of an appropriate regulatory framework in countries to recycle battery materials may hinder industrial growth. E-waste recycling in the U.S. is regulated at the state level, with only half of the states having e-waste recycling laws. That leads to companies’ difficulty navigating the patchwork of regulations if they want to make their products easier to recycle.
Battery recyclers race to increase capacity and efficiency
Global demand for batteries is surging. Lithium-ion cells are being incorporated into ever-wider areas of consumer and industrial life, but one of the biggest drivers of battery demand is the accelerating transition to electric vehicles (EVs). EV numbers are predicted to rise by 36% per year globally, passing 245 million vehicles by 2030.
The lithium-ion batteries that power a typical EV might contain around 29kg of nickel, 8kg of cobalt and 6kg of lithium. Meanwhile, dumping expired batteries can contaminate the environment with toxic compounds, or cause them to degrade, self-ignite and start fires in landfills. An obvious answer is to recycle batteries for their valuable materials, and create a more circular battery economy.
Source: © Ezequiel Becerra/AFP/Getty Images
Batteries are typically shredded before being processed in a variety of different ways to recover different metals and materials
Spent EV batteries can be refurbished for use in applications where weight or volume-based performance requirements are less critical, such as stationary storage and backup power. Nonetheless, these batteries will eventually need to be recycled. Fraunhofer ISI has estimated that from 2035, automotive batteries will become the largest share of batteries for recycling. ‘The challenge is huge,’ says Christophe Couesnon, head of battery sustainability at Solvay in France. ‘End-of-life batteries from cars will first come as a trickle, but then arrive in huge volumes that will be challenging to deal with.’ Car batteries today are expected to last around 15 years.
‘Transition metals like copper, cobalt and nickel are the highest value components within batteries,’ says Emma Kendrick, a battery researcher at the University of Birmingham, UK. ‘But there are other critical materials within batteries such as lithium and graphite.’ She has assessed Li-ion battery recycling processes in dozens of companies. While almost all lead-acid batteries are recycled, estimates suggest only a small fraction of lithium-ion batteries get recycled in countries such as the US, certainly less than 10%. Even China, the world’s largest battery producer, is estimated to recycle less than half.
Once a battery reaches its end of life, it must be brought to a recycling facility, discharged for safety and dismantled. What remains is then put through an industrial shredder and mechanically sorted to generate ‘black mass’, which contains lithium, manganese, cobalt and nickel, among other components depending on the battery construction. Mechanical treatment involves crushing, vacuum drying, sieving and milling. Material extraction can then begin. Size, density and magnetic separation may be used to take out components like current collectors, casing materials and separators. What happens next varies.
It’s a bit like making a Victoria sponge cake, then sticking the entire thing through a shredder and hoping to reclaim the jam and cream
Traditionally, battery recycling is not particularly sophisticated, chemically speaking, Kendrick explains. ‘Often you stick it in the shredder, and then you try and sort it out later.’ With large plants required for economic viability, it can be difficult for innovative startups to get established, she adds, although incentives are on the way.
One major regulatory push for recycling is the EU’s ‘digital passport’ requirement for batteries, which will include environmental data, such as carbon footprint. It will also require half of a battery’s mass to be recycled, rising to 70% for lithium-ion batteries from 2040, along with some specific requirements for metals. The recycle rate for lithium, for example, will go from 35% to 75% between 2026 and 2030, creating a substantial obligation for manufacturers. In the US, the Inflation Reduction Act offers financial rewards for domestic battery material production. Recycling offers an attractive prospect in countries where new mining will likely face opposition on environmental grounds.
Many recyclers, including giants like Umicore, begin with a pyrometallurgical step, whereby battery materials are smelted above 1200°C. Umicore’s process produces metal alloys containing cobalt, nickel, lithium and copper. The company then uses a hydrometallurgical process to separate and recover the metals separately, claiming recovered yields of over 95% for cobalt, copper and nickel from a range of battery compositions. These can then be remanufactured into cathode materials.
Hydrometallurgy relies on strong acids such as sulfuric or hydrochloric acid in tandem with powerful redox reagents such as hydrogen peroxide. ‘You can also use a hydrometallurgical route to extract the components directly, without going through the pyrometallurgical stage,’ says Kendrick. One issue with placing batteries into a furnace is the energy consumption, but also that lithium is partially lost at high temperatures, rather than captured. On the other hand, more complex hydrometallurgical methods often require a more complex (and expensive) mix of potentially hazardous reagents.
In Finland, Fortum opened a mechanical shredding plant in 2021, and has since built a new pilot-scale hydrometallurgical facility to recycle electric car batteries. Once completed, it will be among the largest in Europe and will recover over 95% of the valuable metals including lithium, cobalt, manganese and nickel from black mass, according to the company. In March, Fortum began an operation in Germany. Also in Scandinavia is Hydrovolt, a joint venture between battery company Northvolt and energy and aluminium provider Hydro. Hydrovolt opened Europe’s largest EV battery recycling plant in Norway, capable of processing 12,000 tons of battery packs each year. It says it will isolate some 95% of battery materials, such as copper, aluminium and black mass.
Source: © Detlef W Schmalow/BASF
BASF is aiming to optimise existing hydrometallurgical processe to allow better recovery of lithium alongside other valuable metals
BASF is building a commercial-scale black mass production plant in Schwarzheide with an annual processing capacity of 15,000 tons of lithium-ion batteries from electric cars. It is scheduled to begin operations in 2025. The company is also building a prototype recycling plant in Schwarzheide to test and refine its hydrometallurgical technology for recovering lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese from black mass. ‘Our refining process is based on known technologies from the mining industry as they are also used by other recycling companies,’ according to a BASF spokesperson. ‘We optimise these processes end-to-end to make them suited for recycling batteries into battery grade metals.’ To recover lithium, BASF will lean on a process from Tenova Advanced Technologies, with proprietary solvent extraction and lithium electrolysis.
Solvay is also developing new ways to recover lithium, collaborating with hazardous waste recycler Veolia. Today, hydrometallurgical extraction normally first removes cobalt, then nickel and finally lithium, by which time much of the lithium has been lost. ‘We have a [laboratory scale] process that can bring a step-change to extracting lithium,’ says Couesnon.
Where lithium is currently extracted at all, it is mostly as lithium carbonate, he notes. Battery makers must then use more water, energy and reagents to obtain lithium hydroxide for batteries. ‘Our process can go directly from the lithium content inside the battery to lithium hydroxide,’ says Couesnon. Today, this battery ingredient is not in demand in Europe, since there is so little battery manufacturing, ‘but in a couple of years there’s going to be huge demand’, says Couesnon.
A lot of black mass processes will produce individual metal salts, but why extract these to put them back together in cathode materials?
Demand creates opportunities, says Laura Lander, a battery engineer at King’s College London, UK. ‘There’s a trend for a lot of recycling startups in Europe, as recycled material becomes more valuable.’ One example is Cylib, founded in 2022 on the back of processes developed at RWTH Aachen University, Germany. From the start, the company aimed to recycle as much of battery ingredients as possible using combinations of thermal, mechanical and metallurgical steps.
‘Our process extracts plastics, copper and aluminium early, then we perform water-based lithium and graphite extractions,’ says Gideon Schwich, a cofounder of Cylib. ‘This lowers the mass significantly, so we need less effort and less chemicals to extract further elements.’ For now, the startup recycles one EV battery per day, equivalent to 500–800kg, but it expects to start a production line capable of recycling thousands of tonnes per day in early 2026, likely in Germany. Graphite production, says Lander, is quite polluting, so recovering graphite will have a positive environmental impact and will likely be incentivised by European regulators.
With more battery material becoming available to recycle, new processes are being explored. One potential strategy is called direct recycling: instead of destroying and then recovering metals, this seeks to extract materials that could be repaired or remanufactured for use in new batteries. ‘A lot of research is going into ways to directly take a battery apart and separate out the cathode and the anode and recover the materials as they are, without mixing them all together,’ says Jaqueline Edge, mechanical engineer at Imperial College London, UK. ‘In recycling, if you mix the stream, then you don’t recover the valuable components.’
RecycLiCo Battery Materials in Canada aims to directly recover battery-ready materials. It has built a demonstration facility in Vancouver that can process around 800kg of lithium-ion battery waste material each day. ‘We worked with different black mass and cathode chemistries, such as LCO [lithium cobalt oxide], NMC [nickel manganese cobalt], NCA [nickel cobalt aluminium] and even now LFP [lithium iron phosphate],’ says chief executive Zarko Meseldzija. He adds that the demo plant has achieved over 99% extraction of lithium, nickel, manganese and cobalt using its hydrometallurgical process.
Source: © RecycLiCo Battery Materials
RecycLiCo aims to use an advance hydrometallurgical process to recover materials in a form that can be directly processed into new battery components
The firm says its process is simpler and cheaper than its competitors, which generate less valuable products. Crucially, it generates high-purity lithium carbonate or hydroxide and cathode precursor materials, rather than constituent metals. ‘There is an awful lot of crushing of batteries and black mass production, but we are focusing on the hydrometallurgical side at scale,’ says Meseldzija. ‘A lot of black mass processes will produce individual metal salts, but why extract these to put them back together in cathode materials? We go direct to cathode precursors and lithium hydroxide.’
One notable issue for recyclers is that battery compositions are evolving, with less cobalt in EV batteries and some new elements such as silicon in anodes. Also, the of battery metals can fluctuate wildly, with cobalt peaking around 80,000/tonne in early 2022, then dipping below 35,000 in March 2023. Lithium carbonate cost around 8000/tonne at the start of 2021, rising to about 58,000 in November 2022, before falling back to around 20,000 by mid-April 2023. This can make it difficult for recyclers to pin down their returns when constructing facilities.
Everybody’s talking about electric vehicles and recycling, but there is a significant amount of material lost in the early stages of battery production
For now, the major source of battery scrap is battery production itself. Benchmark has forecast that in 2025 production scrap will account for 78% of the pool of recyclable materials from batteries, with end-of-life scrap only overtaking this in the mid-2030s. ‘Everybody’s talking about electric vehicles and recycling, but there is a significant amount of material lost in the early stages of battery production,’ says Meseldzija. What is more, it makes sense for battery manufacturers to recover this scrap, no matter how much the price of individual metals see-saw. Cylib too sees its initial production FOCUS on recycling scrap from battery production factories in Europe. ‘There are so many gigafactories being set up right now and their production scrap has to be recycled,’ says Schwich. ‘That’s a huge opportunity.’
Nonetheless, it would be wrong to suggest that Europe or North America are leading the way in battery recycling. In terms of volume, China is unsurpassed, providing more than half of estimated global battery recycling capacity of around 200,000 tonnes per year. The battery maker CATL, for example, is about to build a new 24 billion yuan (£2.8 billion) recycling facility to recover battery waste. GEM, a Chinese recycling firm, aims to process 200,000 tonnes a year by 2025, a 20-fold rise in volume from 2021 levels.
Other countries are also keen to establish robust local supply chains. In South Korea, two battery recyclers made strong stock market debuts, according to the Financial Times. ‘Battery recycling is becoming more important in terms of energy security as battery makers are keen to reduce their dependence on China in securing key materials,’ an analyst told the newspaper. Indian battery recycler Attero plans to expand globally over the next five years with a 450 billion investment to set up facilities in Europe, the US and Indonesia.
Building in circularity
But there is room to step up a gear in recycling processes. ‘The electrolytes, the solvents and the plastics all disappear in current processes and are much harder to recover, but the electrolyte for example is valuable and can contain high concentrations of lithium,’ says Edge. One issue is that batteries are simply not designed for recycling, with variations in pack designs and cathode composition, while glues and binders make automated disassembly more difficult. ‘Only very recently is thinking going into the design of batteries for disassembly and recycling,’ says Lander.
‘There’s a need for redesign, to start thinking about what happens to these batteries at the end of life and how we can more easily disassemble them and reclaim pure material waste streams,’ says Kendrick. ‘Because right now, we put all this effort into creating highly engineered cells and then stick them in a shredder.’ China is arguably at an advantage in facing this challenge. Recycling companies are often wholly owned subsidiaries of the automotive companies, says Edge, which allows them to collaborate more on pack design.
Kendrick said battery recycling now is ‘a bit like making a Victoria sponge cake, then sticking the entire thing through a shredder and hoping to reclaim the jam and cream’. The future of battery recycling is bound to become more sophisticated, driven by economic incentives to obtain valuable materials and a regulatory push to recover strategically important battery ingredients.
Anthony King I am a freelance science journalist based in Dublin, Ireland. I cover a variety of topics in chemical and biological sciences, as well as science policy, health and innovation. View full profile
One of the biggest battery recycling plants in the US is up and running
Ascend Elements’ new recycling plant in Covington, Georgia is processing used lithium-ion batteries and manufacturing scrap into useful materials for the clean energy transition.
Getting rid of old batteries can be a hassle. But for recycling startup Ascend Elements, other people’s garbage is basically a gold mine, if not better.
The Massachusetts-based company opened a recycling plant in Covington, Georgia in late March that it says is the largest electric-vehicle battery recycling facility in North America. It can process 30. 000 metric tons of input each year, breaking down old batteries and prepping the most valuable materials inside to be processed and turned into new batteries. That capacity equates to breaking down the battery packs from 70. 000 electric vehicles annually, said Ascend CEO Mike O’Kronley. For context, Redwood Materials, another battery recycling startup, told us its Nevada facility is already processing 40. 000 metric tons of input annually, equivalent to around 100. 000 battery packs.
This is an early example of a nationwide movement to cost-effectively recycle and repurpose EV batteries as more and more drivers go electric. In previous decades, companies hadn’t invested much in lithium-ion recycling, but investment soared in the last few years to match the spiking demand for battery materials.
Recycling can deliver new battery materials without the expense and environmental impact of new mining. It is extremely hard to develop new mines in the U.S., but the federal government is lavishing funds on new battery recycling plants. The revamped EV tax credits also call for increasing shares of domestically sourced batteries and battery materials.
Those market and policy shifts made recycling sufficiently desirable that Ascend is paying other companies for their old batteries. At the moment, those deals are mostly with EV or battery makers that have high volumes to get rid of.
“ Paying for these spent batteries keeps them from going into the landfill,” O’Kronley told Canary Media. “ It’s better to get paid for it rather than throw them away.”
Ascend also accepts used consumer electronics from battery-collection programs, such as Call 2 Recycle.
That’s not to say there are enough old batteries coming in to fill the factory. Currently, 80 to 90 percent of what’s going into Ascend’s Covington facility is scrap materials from battery factories, including SK Battery America’s plant in Commerce, Georgia.
That relationship influenced Ascend’s choice of location: Covington sits in the emerging “ Battery Belt,” a swath of new battery factories and electric-vehicle plants opening up across the Midwest and the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky (look for all the blue icons in this White House map of new industrial investments). Fellow battery-recycling startup Redwood Materials also chose South Carolina for a forthcoming 3. 5 billion recycling facility.
Get Caught Up
“ There will need to be a recycling plant within about an hour’s drive of every single one of those [new battery gigafactories],” O’Kronley said. “ You don’t want to be [long-distance] shipping these very large, heavy EV batteries that are classified as Class 9 hazardous materials.”
As it stands, the nearby battery factories send their scrap down the road to Ascend for what’s called “ pre-processing.” The scrap and used batteries go through mechanical shredding and sieving, which produces “ black mass.” Ascend extracts lithium carbonate from the mass; the remaining mass contains materials such as graphite, nickel, cobalt and manganese.
Currently, Ascend sells most of these substances to the market; it also converts some black mass into cathode precursor and cathode active materials at its Massachusetts R D center. But the company is building a second commercial-scale facility in Hopkinsville, Kentucky that will take the outputs from Covington and convert them into cathode precursor and cathode active material so that they’re ready to go into new battery manufacturing. That 1 billion plant received 480 million in grant funding from the Department of Energy as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s investment in domestic supply for critical materials.
The Covington plant operates similarly to existing battery recycling plants; the Kentucky location will introduce a brand-new technique for efficiently extracting cathode materials from black mass, which Ascend has dubbed “ hydro to cathode.”
“ Those two facilities represent the investment that we are making in key infrastructure to recover these batteries, retain these critical elements in the United States and return them into the supply,” O’Kronley said.
But that’s just the start, because the surging popularity of EVs will produce far more worn-out batteries than the country’s recyclers can process. Ascend is already out raising money to build more plants, according to O’Kronley.
Other emerging recycling startups are at it too. Redwood Materials, founded by Tesla co-founder JB Straubel, won a 2 billion conditional loan from the DOE for a Nevada plant to make new batteries from recycled materials. Canada-based Li-Cycle received a 375 million conditional DOE loan for its own facility to process lithium carbonate from a network of recycling plants. Canary Media recently profiled Cirba Solutions’ efforts to expand a battery-recycling plant in Ohio.
All of these facilities tie into the Biden administration’s goal to make the U.S. more capable of supplying itself with the batteries that will be pivotal to electrifying transportation and decarbonizing the grid.
Update: After Canary Media published this piece, a Redwood Materials spokesperson disclosed new information about the current capacity of its Nevada facility. The piece is now updated to reflect that.
Julian Spector is senior reporter at Canary Media.
Leading Edge Materials (TSXV:LEM)
Year-to-date gain: 25 percent; market cap: C33.11 million; current share price: C
Year-to-date gain: 46.15 percent; market cap: C12.5 million; current share price: C
Power Nickel (TSXV:PNPN)
Year-to-date gain: 25.64 percent; market cap: C32.44 million; current share price: C.245
Power Nickel’s goal is to meet the needs of the battery supply chain by setting itself up to supply high-grade nickel from its flagship NISK project in Quebec, Canada, which it says is being developed into “one of the greenest sources of class-1 nickel in history.” In addition to nickel, the project also holds copper, cobalt, palladium and platinum mineralization, all of which are important metals to the battery market.
Power Nickel’s share price rocketed up early in the year on January 31, when the company partnered with Fleet Space Technologies, an Australian microsatellite operator and developer, for exploration at NISK. According to a release, Fleet Space’s ExoSphere sound mapping technology will generate data that can be used to create a full 3D image of the subsurface to a depth of 2 kilometers, giving Power Nickel a “clear, rich image of what resources may be below ground” with a turnaround of as short as four days. The company plans to use this data to increase its drilling accuracy and potentially find new deposits.
Power Nickel’s share price reached a year-to-date high of C.36 on February 21 after climbing through the previous weeks. In the months since, Power Nickel has completed the first and second tranches of a C5 million private placement, the balance of which it closed in early May. The company has also continued to release results from its 2022 drilling.
On April 27, the company announced that step-out holes at NISK show indications of a new mineralized zone. The release also includes the remaining assays from 2022 drilling and the first assays from Power Nickel’s winter 2023 program. Most recently, the company discovered a new high-grade zone that had previously never been drilled.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Lauren Kelly, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
SPC Nickel has a portfolio of projects in Canada centered on nickel, copper and platinum-group metals. The company’s primary FOCUS is its Lockerby East project in Ontario’s Sudbury mining camp. In January, SPC entered into an option agreement with Vale Canada to acquire the Crean Hill 3 property; it is contiguous to Lockerby East’s West Graham deposit, meaning that SPC has been able to consolidate the two deposits. The company also has the Aer-Kidd and Janes projects in Ontario and the Muskox project in Nunavut.
The Crean Hill 3 acquisition drove the company’s share price up early in the year, and in the following weeks it reached a year-to-date high of C.13 on February 10.
Although it moved down for much of March, SPC’s share price jumped again on March 27, when exploration results from Phase 1 drilling at West Graham revealed over 7 meters of massive to semi-massive sulfide mineralization in one of the drill holes.
The following day, SPC entered into an option agreement for the right to acquire a 100 percent interest in Bathurst Metals’ (TSXV:BMV,OTC Pink:BMVVF) McGregor Lake and Speers Lake properties in Nunavut. The two assets are part of the Muskox intrusion, which hosts SPC’s Muskox project; SPC plans to consolidate this area as well.
The company’s share price rose to C.12 when it released more Phase 1 drill results from West Graham, with a highlight of 2.48 percent nickel and 0.68 percent copper over 7.8 meters within a 143 meter zone of what SPC refers to as “West Graham-style mineralization consisting of 5 to 20% disseminated to blebby sulphides.” Further assays from the 5,000 meter drill program were released on April 26, and the company said it hopes to deliver a combined mineral resource estimate for the West Graham project by 2023’s end.
Leading Edge Materials is focused on developing projects in countries that are part of the European Union. Its assets, which FOCUS on critical raw materials, are the Woxna graphite project and Norra Kärr heavy rare earth elements project in Sweden, along with the 51 percent owned Bihor Sud nickel-cobalt project in Romania. Woxna is currently on care and maintenance, although the company announced in 2022 that it was evaluating a restart at Woxna.
Leading Edge’s share price jumped to start the year alongside a corporate update on its three projects. With regards to Woxna, the company stated: “a change in the Company’s executive management during the second half of the year delayed a decision on this process.” The company is currently working on an environmental study for Norra Kärr and is planning a prefeasibility study for the rare earths project in the second half of 2023.
On January 23, Leading Edge identified extensive nickel and cobalt in galleries at its Bihor Sud project. Its share price rose to a year-to-date high of C.29 two days later. The company went on to discover further mineralization in March, and released quarterly results later that month.