(Alliance News) - Glencore PLC will relocate testing for its battery recycling centre project away from its site in Italy, the Swiss commodities company told AFP on Thursday.

However, it is still studying the possibility of creating a large centre in Italy, it added.

Glencore, which is particularly active in metals trading, announced in May that it was teaming up with the Canadian recycling company Li-Cycle Holdings Corp to launch a feasibility study into building a European lithium battery recycling centre at Portovesme, on the Italian island of Sardinia, where the group already has existing operations.

"Glencore has taken the decision to relocate the testing and demonstration phase to an alternative location outside Italy, that would allow for faster commissioning of such a demonstration project," it told AFP in an email on Thursday.

The group, based in Baar in central Switzerland, did not specify where the tests would be carried out, but stressed that the assessment of its Sardinia site would continue.

"This development does not immediately impact the feasibility assessment of the larger hub project. The definite feasibility study is ongoing and remains focused on Portovesme," it said.

"This initiative is important for our recycling strategy and aligns with Italy's objectives for sustainable industry development," it added.

Glencore is already established in Portovesme on the south coast of Sardinia.

Lead and zinc are processed at the Portovesme industrial complex, which has port access, infrastructure and hydrometallurgical facilities.

As countries shift gear from fossil fuel vehicles to electrified cars, recycling materials from batteries is becoming a major focus. Recycling would also ease dependence on certain countries for raw materials.

Regularly criticised by environmental organisations, often due to its coal activities, Glencore frequently stresses that it also processes important materials for the energy transition such as cobalt, which is used for electric vehicle batteries.

It also often highlights the recycling of metals to meet the strong demand for copper.

The project by Glencore and its Canadian partner aims to set up a European centre producing recycled materials for batteries, including the recycling of lithium-ion but also cobalt and nickel.

Battery recycling is one of the major challenges for the automotive sector as some 350 million electric cars are expected to be on the road worldwide by 2030, compared to 16.5 million in 2021, according to the International Energy Agency.

Glencore shares closed 0.3% higher at 450.15 pence each on Thursday in London, and closed up 0.2% at ZAR105.40 in Johannesburg.

source: AFP

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