Nth Cycle, the innovative metal processing and recycling technology company, announced that it has begun commercial operations of its patented electro-extraction mining and refining technology. Nth Cycle allows miners, refiners and recyclers to recover critical minerals from low-grade ores, mine tailings, and metal-containing waste from a variety of industries like discarded batteries using only electricity and carbon filters. Electro-extraction is a cleaner, lower-cost alternative to the conventional, and prohibitively dirty pyrometallurgy and hydrometallurgy processes currently used by mining companies and battery recyclers.
“As the world moves towards an electrified, net-zero future we should strive to ensure the tools of that transition are as clean as the future we envision,” said Megan O’Connor, co-founder and chief executive officer of Nth Cycle. “The Inflation Reduction Act will dramatically accelerate critical mineral mining and refining activity in the U.S. through stringent ‘localized’ requirements for the critical minerals used to make the batteries that power electric vehicles. We expect Nth Cycle’s electro-extraction technology to be a pivotal solution in closing the resulting gap between supply and demand for domestic critical materials through cost-effective, efficient and environmentally-conscious refining at home.”
Nth Cycle began operation of its first commercial-scale electro-extraction unit – called the OYSTER – last month. The unit will process a range of materials for validation with the company’s growing list of near-term partners and is currently processing black mass, the end product from mechanical separation of end of life batteries. “The successful operation of our first commercial-scale unit opens the door for us to deploy our technology widely and quickly,” said Chris Thoren, VP of Engineering. “We are currently upgrading post-industrial waste to produce Nickel MHP, an important material that allows car manufacturers to comply with the new electric vehicle tax credit. With a current footprint of only a few thousand square feet, our system deploys easily in the field in a matter of months, as opposed to the years it typically takes to build and begin operations for traditional refining facilities.”
Nth Cycle’s unique, modular electro-extraction technology supports refiners, miners and battery recyclers as an alternative or enhancement to older, emissions-intensive hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurgical processes. Nth Cycle’s technology transforms the outputs of metal scrap, electronics recycling, untapped mining resources, and waste from existing mines into high-purity critical minerals ready to be used in new production.