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Innovative antimony recovery process from lead and plastics wastes.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Stibiox (Innovative antimony recovery process from lead and plastics wastes.)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2018-08-01 do 2019-01-31

Antimony (Sb) is a semi-metal with a growing strategic importance and included in the list of critical materials by the EU. Every year, only the plastics and LA battery manufacturing European industries need 60 ktons of Sb and its use is steadily increasing by 4% a year. But Europe is completely dependent on import: China is the largest producer of Antimony (86% globally mined in China), followed by Tajikistan, Bolivia and Russia. Stibiox is a solution able to recycle the Antimony from end-of-life plastics and Pb batteries.

Considering that the China's mining production is reducing due to the gradual depletion of mines (from 150 ktons in 2010 to 115 ktons in 2016), it is expected that the world natural resources of this metal will be exhausted in the next 8 years! The scarcity of the raw material availability, the monopolistic position of China and dumping policies lead to an extremely high and unstable cost for plastics and Pb battery European industries.

Finding new solutions for Sb recycling, competitive with the market price of the raw material from Chinese mines, would open the huge market of plastics and LA batteries raw materials supplying. And also find secondary sources of Sb either through the recycling of end-of-life products or by recovering antimony from industrial process residues. The main secondary sources under study are lead-acid batteries, plastics with antimony-containing flame retardants, and “dirty” antimony concentrates containing high quantities of lead.

Stibiox is an innovative process able to recover pure Antimony from the residues of lead metallurgy and from the flame retardants plastics / lead-acid batteries wastes, thanks to a new process composed by a thermal oxidation, a leaching, a liquid/liquid separation and a final desorption. This process will allow a disruptive performance in terms of recycled Sb purity (> 99.9%) and cost of recovery, thereby allowing to sell the recycled antimony in the raw material market at a cheaper and stable price.
During Phase 1 Feasibility Study project, TND has:
• developed a detailed technical and business feasibility analysis,
• optimized the supply chain for Stibiox process plant fabrication and operation,
• designed the prototypal Stibiox process,
• elaborated on the customers validation,
• analysed the achievable markets,
• refined the Business Model to be implemented in the Market Entry phase.
"It is expected that the criticism in the Sb supply will stimulate the European institutions to promote incentives towards the development of recycling processes and the use of recycled materials, further supporting Stibiox technology in the market. It is clear that Stibiox is a disruptive technology able to be proposed in the market as the first ""Antimony Recovery from Wastes"" process. The fluctuation of Sb price represents an unsustainable cost for the plastics and batteries sectors: taking as an example the flame retardants market for plastics, the prices fluctuate between 400 to 800 €/ton due to the variability of Antimony raw material cost. Stibiox material can be sold to a fixed low price, being produced by a recycling process, leading to a stable flame retardant price on the market."
TND headquater