Altilium Metals receives £700,000 from UK government for two research projects

UK battery materials and recycling company Altilium Metals has secured over £700,000 in UK government innovation funding for two collaborative research projects focused on the recovery of copper and rare earth elements from mine waste.

Altilium is partnering with CPI and Camborne School of Mines for the two projects, which aim to develop new environmentally friendly processes for the recycling of rare earth elements and other battery metals from mine tailings.

Both planned projects will focus on utilising mine waste, also known as mine tailings, which are controlled by Altliium in Europe. The plan is to support the shift to a circular economy, mitigating waste and reducing new mining projects and geographical impacts. Instead of sourcing metals from unused mineral resources in the earth, which are increasingly carbon and resource-intensive to extract and mine and refine, the idea is to explore methods to recover copper, iron, aluminium and other metals from existing mine waste and provide these in a form that can be utilised by the UK battery supply chain.

The first project is titled ‘ReTail: Recovery of copper, aluminium and other battery metals’, and covers specific resource recovery, as the title suggests. Over a period of 12 months and in partnership with CPI, the project aims to establish the feasibility and environmental impact of the above-mentioned processing tailings from Altilium’s site in Europe to extract copper, aluminium and other battery materials.

The second project, titled ‘ReREE: Recovery of rare earth elements’, will also focus on recycling. In cooperation with the Camborne School of Mines, a feasibility study will be conducted, exploring the recovery of rare earth elements from mine tailings using innovative hydrometallurgical processes.

“We are committed to pushing the boundaries and leading UK innovation in green technologies to enable a sustainable energy transition,” said Altilium COO Dr Christian Marston, adding: “By reprocessing mine waste, we are not only reducing the harmful environmental impact of traditional mining, but also providing a sustainable solution to meet the growing demands for copper and rare earth elements, as well as fostering economic growth. By efficiently recycling resources, we’re contributing to job creation and economic development.”

The timing of the announcement almost coincides with the UK’s newly announced battery strategy, which places a high priority on developing a local supply chain. The company also has an ongoing cooperation with ABB. Altilium is not the only company in the UK looking at recycling battery and EV materials to recover resources, as Recyclus just opened a facility, which is planned to recycle batteries on a major scale in October.


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