Breakthrough Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Technologies Enable Extraordinary Increase in Throughput
VIRGINIA CITY, Nev., July 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Comstock Mining Inc. (the “Company”) (NYSE American: LODE) today announced the filing of a Written Determination of Hazardous Waste Recycling (“Application”) by LINICO Corporation (“LiNiCo”), and its lithium-ion battery (“LIB”) recycling facility located in the Tahoe Reno Industrial (“TRI”) Center in Storey County, Nevada (“TRI Facility”).
The Application and LiNiCo’s final engineering plans are based on the first phase of LiNiCo’s proprietary LIB recycling technologies, which have been designed for extraordinary capacity and yield at a fraction of the capital and operating costs of all known methods. Those technologies are the direct result of Comstock’s recently announced and planned additional technology development, engineering, and materials science acquisitions and other transactions, including Renewable Process Solution (“RPS”) and its CEO and Comstock’s new Chief Process Engineer, Rahul Bobbili.
Construction of the first phase of LiNiCo’s new processes will commence at the TRI Facility upon approval of the Application, with an anticipated completion and start-up during the first half of 2022. Once complete, the TRI Facility is conservatively expected to scale up to its initial nameplate capacity exceeding 100,000 tons per year of LIBs over a period of three years, with annualized revenues exceeding $250,000,000, $410,000,000, and $505,000,000 per year during the TRI Facility’s first, second, and third full years of operations, respectively, as shown in the following excerpt from LiNiCo’s internal projections:
Throughput (tons per year)
Revenue ($000s per year)
Spent LIBs are widely expected to contain more than $12 billion in recoverable strategic metals by 2025 and $26 billion by 2040, as global mobile device use increases to about 18 billion by 2025, and electric vehicle (“EV”) sales increase to about 138 million units by 2030 from 7.6 million in 2020, according to the International Energy Agency. ARK Invest also recently concluded that EV sales will increase to about 40% of global auto sales within five to six years. Tesla CEO Elon Musk provided a similar estimate, tweeting his view that the industry could produce 30 million EVs per year by 2027. Peter Rawlinson, CEO of Lucid, said in June 2021 that he believes that there is a growing recognition that EVs represent the future of the auto industry. And General Motors recently announced that it will increase spending on electric and autonomous vehicles to $35 billion through 2025, with a target of selling 1,000,000 EVs annually by 2025.
Meeting the increased demand will require about 1.8 million tons per year of lithium carbonate equivalent (“LCE”), or about five times more than the entire lithium mining industry produces today, and more than fifteen times the total LCE used in producing new EVs in 2020. The mining and battery manufacturing industries can scale up to meet that demand, but there are only about 80 million tons of identified lithium resources worldwide, and EV batteries are typically landfilled after eight to ten years of use.
Selective Separation Technologies
“The first phase of our technologies was all about establishing and maximizing market leading throughput in a safe, compliant, and cost-effective manner, with room for modular capacity expansions as global electrification efforts accelerate and the LIB recycling industry inevitably grows,” said LiNiCo’s Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Michael Vogel. “However, in addition to our previously announced Green Li-ion 99.9% pure cathode production technologies, we are also perfecting a series of additional technologies involving remarkable and new approaches to selectively separating strategic commodities from LIBs, starting with high purity LCE products. We designed the TRI Facility layout with those future upgrades and technologies in mind.”
Comstock’s Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Corrado De Gasperis, added, “We see spent LIBs as a potent form of industrial ore, and – as with any ore, we need the right team, technology, and infrastructure to mine it. Comstock and LiNiCo are rapidly assembling all three, as demonstrated by the extraordinary five-fold leap in the initial throughput of LiNiCo’s first facility, representing the proverbial tip of our rapidly developing and expanding technology spear.”
Addressing Scarcity with Innovation
Comstock believes that the global clean energy transition, escalating population growth, and accelerating natural resource scarcity are converging into a “perfect storm” of global demand in a broad array of strategic materials, including anything involving carbon, metals, energy, and water – without the corresponding global capacity to sustainably meet even a fraction of the demand. Comstock’s strategic focus has consequently shifted to include the development of companies and technologies that facilitate the more efficient use of natural resources by extracting and valorizing critical and inevitably scarce feedstocks.
De Gasperis concluded, “The consumption of any product is powered by feedstock, and as vast as some feedstock supplies may seem, they are all finite. The world is watching that story unfold in electrification products, with a current focus on the scarcity of lithium and other cathode constituents, and a shared goal of reducing global carbon emissions. However, every cathode in every LIB needs an anode, and the vast majority of anodes are comprised of synthetic graphite, the global supplies of which are nearly all met with carbon intensive fossil fuel derivatives. We see that to be counterproductive, and its exactly the sort of inevitable need that we intend to address with innovation. We believe that we’re well positioned ahead of that curve with LiNiCo’s TRI Facility and our technology development efforts.”
About Comstock Mining Inc.
Comstock Mining Inc. (NYSE: LODE) is an emerging innovator and leader in the sustainable extraction, valorization, and production of scarce natural resources, with a focus on high value strategic materials that are essential to meeting the rapidly increasing global demand for clean energy, carbon-neutrality, and natural products. To learn more, please visit www.comstockmining.com.
Comstock was selected to join the Russell Microcap® Index at the conclusion of the 2021 Russell indexes annual reconstitution, effective after the US market opened on June 4, 2021. Membership in the Russell Microcap® Index, which remains in place for one year, means automatic inclusion in the appropriate growth and value style indexes. FTSE Russell determines membership for its Russell indexes primarily by objective, market-capitalization rankings and style attributes.
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Comstock Mining Inc.
Corrado De Gasperis