Mining company Eramet and waste and water firm Suez have announced their decision to establish an electric vehicle (EV) battery recycling facility in Dunkirk, France. This strategic move aims to leverage the growing battery production cluster forming around the northern French port. The joint venture between Eramet and Suez intends to create a two-step facility: first, a plant for dismantling lithium-ion batteries, followed by a unit dedicated to separating and refining metals such as nickel, cobalt, and lithium for reuse in battery production.
The partners have set their sights on a final investment decision for the initial plant by the end of this year, with production scheduled to commence in 2025. Simultaneously, they plan to decide on the second plant's development by the end of 2024, targeting a launch in 2027. Funding for this ambitious project has received a boost, with Eramet securing an €80 million ($85.18 million) grant from the European Union and France's state-owned bank, BPI.
Eramet is preparing to launch a pilot plant at its research centre near Paris, dedicated to testing the metal refining process for recycling. This development aligns with France's broader strategy to establish a “battery valley” in the Dunkirk region, with several gigafactories set to produce batteries to support the growing electric vehicle manufacturing industry.
The battery dismantling plant planned by Eramet and Suez will have a substantial processing capacity, capable of handling 50,000 tons of battery modules annually, equivalent to around 200,000 EV batteries. Eramet's recent strategic shift towards minerals essential for battery production includes a lithium production project in Argentina, expected to commence operations next year.