Closing the Loop – Integrated Recycling
Aaron Taylor – Wardell Armstrong International
Closing the loop on critical materials will alleviate the huge vulnerability existing in our supply chain security. Circular economies must begin with sustainable production, followed by moving away from linear models. Lithium production must quadruple, and rare-earth metal demand is set to double by 2030. Recycled production offers a pathway to offset increased demand. Battery and e-waste recycling of critical metals is in its infancy, but the following paper reviews integrating this type of metal processing back into the mining life cycle. Economic value metals and environmentally harmful metals can be recovered using various selective, conventional, and eco-friendly hydrometallurgical techniques. These techniques are widely used in the primary production of critical metals. We consider the theory of using the infrastructure of mineral processing plants, as means of secondary production of these metals. We review consolidating primary and secondary production as the key in fast-tracking this growing industrial sector.