Swiss mining company Glencore, in collaboration with Canada's Li-Cycle, has decided to abandon the construction of an electric vehicle (EV) battery recycling plant on the Italian island of Sardinia due to delays in the authorization process, as reported by Italian trade unions.
Initially announced in May, the project aimed to establish a facility producing lithium and other materials by extracting shredded material from used car batteries, referred to as “black mass.” However, the lack of definitive deadlines for the environmental impact assessment procedure, overseen by Sardinia's regional government, prompted Glencore and Li-Cycle to seek alternative locations for the plant, according to statements from CGIL, CISL, and UIL labor unions on Wednesday.
Glencore has not provided immediate comments on the matter, and a spokesperson for Italian Industry Minister Adolfo Urso remained unresponsive to requests for comments.
Reports suggest that Germany is a likely alternative location for the battery recycling facility. Other potential sites under consideration include Spain, Canada, and the United States, as revealed by business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.
In October, documents submitted by Glencore for the environmental impact assessment were deemed insufficient by Sardinia's regional administration. The setbacks continued as the regional government rejected a fast-track approval process for Glencore's pilot project, prompting the company to explore alternative options for the hub.
The decision to shift the project's location underscores the challenges and uncertainties faced by companies navigating the complex regulatory landscape for EV-related ventures, impacting the strategic deployment of critical recycling infrastructure in the evolving electric mobility sector.