The Metals Company converts seafloor nodules into alloy containing critical battery metals
(Kitco News) - The Metals Company (Nasdaq: TMC), an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, today announced that it derived an alloy comprised of high-grade battery metals from its pilot smelting campaign, conducted in partnership with Expert Process Solutions (XPS) with support from Hatch and Optimize Group.
The company said that the pilot smelting project team utilized a custom process derived from conventional nickel flowsheets to segregate the base metals contained in the nodules into two concentrated streams: an alloy comprised of critical metals essential for EV batteries and wiring including nickel, cobalt, and copper; and a manganese silicate which can be sold direct to market and further processed to manganese alloy — a critical input to steel production.
"From a metallurgical perspective, nodules are a great feedstock to work with," said Head of Onshore Development, Dr. Jeffrey Donald. "They have high grades of valuable metals, few impurities, low variability, and come in shapes and sizes that make them very easy to handle, significantly reducing the cost and complexity of the processing."
The company added that this latest stage in the pilot processing program brings it one step closer to realizing its ambition of building a full-scale metallurgical processing plant and advances the company’s mission of eliminating the solid waste streams and harmful tailings and residues associated with conventional land-based metal mining and production.
"These encouraging results show that nodules could provide an attractive alternative to land-based ores for securing high-volumes of the critical metals needed to achieve energy independence," said Chairman and CEO Gerard Barron. "With the potential to ship them anywhere in the world for processing, nodules could help solve national supply needs for important metals like nickel and manganese."
The Metals Company is an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules. The company, through its subsidiaries, holds exploration rights to three polymetallic nodule contract areas in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean regulated by the International Seabed Authority and sponsored by the governments of Nauru, Kiribati and the Kingdom of Tonga.