French companies Eramet and Suez choose Dunkirk for electric vehicle battery recycling

PARIS (Reuters) – Eramet and Suez have chosen Dunkirk as the site for a planned electric vehicle (EV) battery recycling plant, as the partners look to tap into a battery production belt being developed around the northern French port, they said on Friday.

As part of their joint venture, mining group Eramet and waste and water company Suez want to build a plant to dismantle lithium-ion batteries, followed by a second plant to separate and refine metals such as nickel, cobalt and lithium for reuse in batteries .

The partners are targeting a final investment decision for the first-stage facility by the end of this year, with a production start in 2025, and a decision by the end of 2024 for the second-stage facility, followed by a start in 2027, they said in a statement.

Eramet received a grant of 80 million euros ($85.18 million) from the European Union and French state bank BPI to finance the project, it said.

They added that a pilot plant to test the refining process would soon be commissioned at Eramet’s research center near Paris.

Several gigafactories are set to produce batteries in the Dunkirk region as the French government encourages the creation of a “battery valley” to support electric vehicle production.

The Eramet and Suez battery dismantling facility will have a processing capacity of 50,000 tons of battery modules per year, equivalent to 200,000 EV batteries, it said.

Eramet has shifted its focus to minerals for batteries in recent years, including through a lithium production project in Argentina set to start next year.

(Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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