On March 28th, Primobius took another important step with a grand opening event. The two joint venture partners, Neometals and SMS group, had invited guests from politics, business and the media to an official ceremony in which they gave the go-ahead for commercial operation of the battery recycling plant starting in May 2022.
Dr.-Ing. E. H. Heinrich Weiss Chairman of the Shareholders‘ Committee at SMS group opened the event and, in his opening address, particularly highlighted Hilchenbach as the birthplace of today’s SMS group as well as the place of origin of many outstanding technologies.
In a video message, Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, Minister of Economics, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), congratulated both joint venture partners on the success achieved so far and particularly on choosing Hilchenbach (NRW) as the location of the recycling plant.
Christopher Reed and his Neometals team covered the long way from Perth, Australia to Germany to attend this great ceremony. In his speech, Christopher Reed outlined the history of the fruitful partnership between SMS group and Neometals and called the opening of the first commercial plant just the start of a long journey together.
It was a privilege to welcome another Australian guest and speaker in Hilchenbach. The Australian Ambassador to Germany H.E. Philip Green pointed out the importance of recycling and circular economy and was very happy about this positive example of German-Australian relations.
"I do hope this is not the last plant of this kind. There will be need for many more, and the foresight of the people involved today deserves to be used in future generations of firms just like this."
H.E. Philip Green – Australian Ambassador to Germany
Following the greetings, Primobius Managing Directors Horst Krenn (SMS group Process Technologies) and Michael Tamlin (Neometals Ltd.) jointly pressed the button to start the machines for a short and noisy demonstration of the shredder. Afterwards, the 60 invited guests were taken on a tour of the plant.
The commercial Shredding Plant was purposely built to take account of the demand in supply chains for closed loop recycling and domestic supply chain resilience sought by LIB manufacturers, and others, in Europe.
Potential customers of the disposal services to be offered from Hilchenbach include battery cell manufacturers, the automotive industry and consumer electronics producers.
The final products resulting from the mechanical comminution and beneficiation in Hilchenbach is a mixed material fraction consisting of copper, aluminum, and plastic parts that have different compositions depending on the type of feedstock used. Following the principles of a circular economy, these materials can be returned straight back to the market.
The Black Mass created is an intermediate product of the shredding plant and is likely to be sold for until it can be accepted for further processing by a Primobius commercial refining plant.
"We can give the valuable materials back at a very, very low carbon footprint and relieve our customers from the risks of it leaking into the environment, damaging the water, burning, causing damage. So it's much about safety and disposing of them safely."
Chris Reed - Managing Director/CEO Neometals Ltd. – Primobius Member of the Advisory Board