Glencore & strategic partner Britishvolt strengthen relationship and agree to build battery recycling ecosystem in the UK
3 February 2022
Glencore is proud to have entered an industry-leading battery recycling joint venture with strategic partner and battery pioneer Britishvolt, the UK’s foremost investor in battery cell technologies and R&D.
The joint venture will develop a world-leading ecosystem for battery recycling in the UK. This ecosystem will be anchored at a new recycling plant located at the Britannia Refined Metals operation (BRM-located in Northfleet), a Glencore company. BRM will continue with its current production and trading operations.
The project sees a return to recycling for BRM, securing existing jobs and creating new ones. Once complete, the plant will be Glencore and Britishvolt’s first battery recycling facility in the UK with an expected processing capacity of a minimum of 10,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries per year, including but not limited to valuable battery manufacturing scrap, portable electronics batteries and full EV packs. The facility will process all Britishvolt’s battery manufacturing scrap from their Gigafactory in Blyth.
The facility is expected to be operational by mid-2023 with the long-term aim of being 100% powered by renewable energy. The partnership will also look to develop other recycling activities such as the refining of black mass into battery grade raw materials.
The JV will leverage Glencore’s multi-decade recycling experience across end of life materials such as discarded electronics, copper/alloy scraps and black mass. Both companies believe that battery recycling will form a key part of the energy transition, efficiently recovering the critical metals needed for the energy transition. The bold aim is to help support the creation of a genuinely circular economy that supplies recycled materials and minerals back into the battery supply chain.
David Brocas, Head Cobalt Trader at Glencore, commented:
“We are excited to deepen our partnership with Britishvolt. Both companies are united in their ambition to further the energy and mobility transition. Glencore has decades of recycling experience across multiple disciplines (e-waste/copper scrap/battery). This recycling partnership complements our long-term supply agreement for responsible cobalt from our operations in Norway and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We believe the opportunity to utilise BRM’s operations as a cutting-edge battery recycling facility will help support the development of a UK battery recycling industry. It will also play a part in furthering the UK’s climate ambitions as well as Glencore’s as we work towards net zero total emissions by 2050.”
Timon Orlob, Global Chief Operating Officer, Britishvolt:
“This exciting project adds much to our existing relationship with Glencore supplying Britishvolt with responsibly-sourced cobalt. Recycling is key to a successful energy transition and has always been a major part of Britishvolt’s business model. We’ve been looking for the perfect partner to help kick start a UK battery recycling industry and FTSE 100-listed Glencore has expert historical experience in recycling. This JV will help us both to create a truly sustainable battery value-chain, create jobs and develop new battery recycling technologies. Both Britishvolt and Glencore are fully committed to reducing carbon across the supply chain.”
The partnership also aims to research how to make the recycling of EV batteries easier and more cost effective, maximizing their supply chain value and to influence legislation, including increasing regulation of recycling and ESG requirements.
It will also allow Britishvolt to assist its OEM customers on their path to sustainability, by offering hedging opportunities against swings in raw materials prices.
Britishvolt’s Gigaplant will create thousands of highly skilled jobs, regenerating a site that was previously home to the UK’s largest coal-fired power station. This is true transformation, unlocked by the government’s commitment to support green growth and levelling-up.
According to the Faraday Institution although large amounts of lithium-ion battery packs will be available for recycling from around 2028, there are no substantial recycling facilities currently in the UK. Many UK manufacturers currently export used batteries to European facilities for recycling. Greenpeace data also suggests that around 12.85 million tons of EV lithium-ion batteries will go offline between 2021 and 2030. End of life EV batteries will become a valuable part of the battery supply chain and could further the creation of high-tech UK jobs.
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Notes for Editors
Glencore is one of the world’s largest global diversified natural resource companies and a major producer and marketer of more than 60 responsibly-sourced commodities that advance everyday life. The Group's operations comprise around 150 mining and metallurgical sites and oil production assets.
With a strong footprint in over 35 countries in both established and emerging regions for natural resources, Glencore's industrial activities are supported by a global network of more than 30 marketing offices. Glencore's customers are industrial consumers, such as those in the automotive, steel, power generation, battery manufacturing and oil sectors. We also provide financing, logistics and other services to producers and consumers of commodities. Glencore's companies employ around 135,000 people, including contractors.
Glencore is proud to be a member of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and the International Council on Mining and Metals. We are an active participant in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Our ambition is to be a net zero total emissions company by 2050.
Britishvolt is Britain’s foremost investor in battery cell technologies and research and development. It is dedicated to developing the future of electrified transportation and sustainable energy storage, producing best-in-class, low-carbon, sustainable, responsibly manufactured lithium-ion battery technologies.
Britishvolt’s aim is to establish the UK as the leading force in battery technology, and associated ecosystem infrastructure. It is working with leading strategic partners/suppliers to achieve this, as it is of paramount importance to the future of the UK automotive industry and the overall economic and industrial health of the country. The company is built on a foundation of ESG Principles and Commitments.
Britishvolt believes that the UK is the right place for its initial investments because of the strength of its automotive and renewable energy industry alongside its expertise and history in industrial and academic battery R&D. As well as the UK Government’s foresight in creating a world-class battery ecosystem.
Quarter four 2023/early 2024 has been targeted as the start of production of Phase One of Britain’s first full-scale Gigaplant situated on the old coal stocking yard of the former Blyth Power Station in Cambois, Northumberland.
HM Government’s January announcement of support for Britishvolt via an in principle offer of funding made through the Automotive Transformation Fund enables a long-term partnership with Tritax and abrdn delivering £1.7bn in private funding.
The companies in which Glencore plc directly and indirectly has an interest are separate and distinct legal entities. In this document, “Glencore”, “Glencore group” and “Group” are used for convenience only where references are made to Glencore plc and its subsidiaries in general. These collective expressions are used for ease of reference only and do not imply any other relationship between the companies. Likewise, the words “we”, “us” and “our” are also used to refer collectively to members of the Group or to those who work for them. These expressions are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular company or companies.