Metso said it has modernized its pilot facility at the Metso Research Center in Pori, Finland, with expanded capabilities for lithium hydroxide (LiOH) and other battery chemicals process testing.
The unique pilot line serves mining and battery industry customers processing battery minerals. In connection with the expansion, Metso has also opened a battery materials precursor (pCAM) pilot plant, available now for customer trials.
“Pilot run requests for battery minerals like lithium, nickel and cobalt have increased significantly during the last three years. Currently, we are working on several battery black mass recycling and precursor projects and have several lithium and other battery chemicals project pilots on our laboratory schedule,” said Hydrometallurgical Research and Development Director Janne Karonen.
Metso noted that process simulations are crucial in the piloting phase, supporting process and equipment design, training and plant operation. For this purpose, Metso uses its unique metallurgical digital twin Geminex, which is based on the company’s HSC-Sim software for predictive process simulations. Pilot plant and real-time plant data enrich the simulation model to accurately predict plant behavior.
The company, which noted it has developed sustainable hard rock lithium soda leaching technologies for 20 years already, said the pilot facility expansion will complement Metso’s frontrunning piloting capabilities for minerals processing and metals refining, enabling minerals and battery industry customers to have end-to-end testing, piloting services and technology and equipment deliveries from one supplier.
“Metso’s expertise in battery minerals covers the extraction of lithium from brines and pegmatite ores up to battery-grade lithium salts,” the company said, adding that the processes are designed to meet the needs for high-end lithium-ion battery chemicals production.
“[We] can provide sustainable technology and equipment for the entire lithium, nickel and cobalt production chain – from the mine to battery materials and black mass recycling – with project scopes ranging from equipment packages to plant deliveries.”