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Demonstration of battery metals recovery from primary and secondary resources through a sustainable processing methodology

Project description

Securing the critical raw materials that drive electric vehicles

Electric mobility is driving the battery sector, which is a key strategic sector for the EU. However, electric vehicles run on lithium-ion batteries. Lithium, like other rare earth elements, is scarce. In this context, the EU-funded METALLICO project will develop a new opportunity for the EU. Bringing together representatives from the entire value chain (including mining and industrial sites) with primary and secondary sources of critical and battery metals (lithium, cobalt, copper, manganese, nickel), the project will test new processes for producing battery grade materials. Worldwide, these battery metals are predominantly in Australia, Chile, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Africa, making it difficult to ensure supply. METALLICO will design sustainable upstream and downstream processes.


The European Union has underexploited potential to produce critical raw materials (CRM) and special metals, as stated in the Study on the EU’s list of Critical Raw Materials (2020). Concretely, the battery sector is considered as a key strategic sector for the EU due to the increased use of batteries in different important sectors such as electric mobility. Thus, METALLICO proposal presents a new opportunity for the European Union. It is composed by an strategic consortium along the value chain, including mining and industrial sites with primary and secondary sources of critical and battery metals (Li, Co, Cu, Mn, Ni); experienced partners to pilot novel processes for producing battery-grade materials based on previous projects and activities; industrial and SME end-users in the battery, cement, paint, and ceramic sectors; and partners to demonstrate the social-license-to-operate (including the support of government bodies), sustainability and commercial chances that the solution represents. Worldwide, these battery metals are predominantly in Chile, Australia, South Africa, China, and The Democratic Republic of Congo, representing a high risk for the EU in terms of supply shortage. For example, in the case of Li, the EU import reliance is 87% for lithium concentrates and 100% for refined compounds as there is no domestic refining . METALLICO includes 4 cases studies in the EU to recover: battery-grade Li2CO3 from a primary spodumene/lepidolite/petalite deposit; Co concentrates and battery-grade CoSO4 from a mine secondary resource (CLC); and Cu, Co, Mn, and Ni concentrates from metallurgical slag from a Pb refining company (KHGM) and secondary mine tailings (THARSIS). Upscaling of sustainable and innovative upstream and downstream processes will demonstrate the techno-economic recovery and production of these critical and important metals for the EU.



Net EU contribution
€ 3 298 906,25

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Sur Andalucía Sevilla
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 3 298 906,25

Participants (19)

Partners (1)