JX Nippon Mining & Metals (JX), a unit of Japanese petroleum company ENEOS [5020:JP], will invest millions of dollars to deploy lithium recovery equipment at its subsidiary JX Metals Circular Solutions, as reported by Nikkei Asia on April 14. JX plans to extract high-purity lithium from scrapped batteries and provide samples generated from the recovery procedure as early as FY22, which ends on March 31, 2023. Furthermore, the Japanese firm may scale up the lithium recovery business in FY23 or later.
JX launched the recovery business amid the year-long price surge in raw materials for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, such as nickel and lithium. The International Energy Agency predicts that the world will have 145m units of EV by 2030, from around 10m units at present. Also, the global demand for lithium is expected to hit 2.1m tons in 2030, six times the 2020 levels according to the Chilean Copper Commission. To combat rare metal shortages and reduce batteries’ carbon footprint, the EU has drawn up new rules that will demand auto batteries to have at least 12% recycled cobalt, 4% recycled lithium, and 4% recycled nickel in 2030, with the required proportions further increasing in 2035. Aside from JX, two other Japanese companies, namely Sumitomo Metal Mining [5713:JP] and chemical producer Kanto Denka Kogyo [4047:JP], also teamed up to start a business this Summer to extract lithium from scrapped auto batteries.