Mini Mines: Sustainable Recycling of Waste Lithium-ion Batteries

MiniMines is a lithium-ion battery resource recovery company, focused on providing sustainable solutions for end-of-life lithium-ion batteries. Our proprietary technology and processes recover up to 96% of all materials found in lithium-ion batteries, including critical materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and copper. By doing so, we reduce the environmental impact of lithium-ion batteries and create a circular economy that preserves critical resources. MiniMines is committed to providing a safe, sustainable, and cost-effective solution for the management of end-of-life lithium-ion batteries.


Hi @Arvind4b, thanks and I had some questions

What do you do with the critical materials recovered?
What is the remaining 4% in a lithium-ion battery? Any chart with % the composition of a battery?
What are the economics of it? As in what is recovered in terms of value as compared to the reverse logistics of collecting the battery, etc?

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Hello @NithinKamath Sir,

Thanks for your interest.

  1. The extracted elements are in the form of compounds like Lithium Carbonate, Nickel Hydroxide, and Cobalt Hydroxide. These elemental compounds can be sold directly in the commodity market. These elemental compound find their applications in various industries like Lubricants, Pharmaceuticals, Ceramics and Glass, Metallurgy, Chemical refining, Petroleum refining, and Lithium-ion cell manufacturing. These compounds can be sold in these industries without any effort because of supply shortages.

  2. The remaining 4 % of these metals are mostly trapped in the graphite present (Because of its layered 2D structure), container losses, and go in form of impurities in other elemental compounds (<0.2%).

The battery composition is not defined. Every company and every batch has different compositions. Generally, the Lithium present in cells is 3-4.5 %, Cobalt is 4-5%, Manganese is 6-8%, Graphite is 20-22%, and Nickel is 9-12%. The remaining weight comes from Copper, Aluminum, Iron/Steel, and Plastic (Separator).

  1. Using our proprietary process, we are able to recover these elemental compounds at less than 50% cost, in comparison to their market value. The reverse logistics totally depends upon the supply chain network and waste battery offtake contracts. The cost of these waste batteries depends on cell chemistry and transportation. Transportation is the major cost component (40-50%) in waste battery pricing.

Hope it answers your questions.

The detailed costing is confidential information that I cannot explain here. We can have a VC for the same.

Thank you

I look forward to speaking to you soon. @Sagar_Gudekote, can you help coordinate?

And please don’t call me sir. :slight_smile:

@Arvind4b There are a few concerns in terms of feasibility and viability of Li-ion recycling. This article sums up some of the frequently spoken about issues. Curious to know your thoughts on this.

Hello @Pai ,

This is a good article. The recycling technologies shown here are correct, but since then the efficiency of recycling has improved with multiple advancements in the processes. The growth in demand for these raw materials and the production is not complementary, which will force manufacturers to use recycled materials. Also, govt. policies (EPR) will also aid in extensively using recycled materials.

Just saw this -

@Arvind4b Curious if you have heard of this team and if you could share a bit about the processes you use at Minimines to extract components of Li-Ion batteries.

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@Pai Yes,
Metastable is also starting its process of establishing 1500 tonnes/year. The process is a Carbothermal process. I am not sure about the exact method. Still, if you do some literature search, you will find that this process is already in the industry for quite a long time and produces Carbon dioxide and Carbon Monoxide, causing environmental pollution. The carbothermal process is being used in converting metal oxides ores into pure metals, in which the ore is heated in presence of carbon. the oxygen reacts with carbon and is converted into CO and CO2. Also, the process gives a mixture of metals, not individual elemental compounds.

This is similar to the Pyrometallurgy process with some modifications.

Our process (HHMTM) doesn’t generate any solid, liquid, or gaseous discharge in the whole process and gives individual elemental compounds above 96% efficiency and 99% purity. Our process is more sustainable in terms of energy consumption, environmental emissions, efficiency, and purity of extracted materials. Our plant is having a capacity of 3000 tonnes/year.

Because of sustainability and very low carbon emissions, we were selected for UNIDO’s Innovation Challenge and FLCTD accelerator. We also got validated by Oil India Limited and multiple third parties.

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Thanks for this clarification.

Do let us know when we can visit the lab later in April or early May. Would be happy to get some from the team also to tag along. :slight_smile:

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HI @Arvind4b, I loved your Website! Is it possible to share the chemical reactions for each stage with exact chemical compositions?

@Pai Thanks for your interest.

We will be ready by this month’s end and happy to host you in early May.

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Hello @Suman_Jile ,

Thanks for the feedback. We are trying to promote sustainability in recycling and energy storage.

The process is proprietary so it’s not possible to share the reactions and other details. The materials extracted are Carbon (Spherical Graphite), Hydroxides (Nickel Hydroxide, Cobalt Hydroxide, Manganese Hydroxide, etc.), and carbonates (Lithium Carbonate) depending on the battery chemistry.

@warrior_vishal @Babitaswmrt implications of lithium ion battery waste, and recovery/recycling efforts?

@Pai Thanks for sharing.

But again, Ascend Elements is also into Black Mass extraction and Lithium Carbonate. No elemental separation.

The scrap and used batteries go through mechanical shredding and sieving, which produces ​“black mass.” Ascend extracts lithium carbonate from the mass; the remaining mass contains materials such as graphite, nickel, cobalt, and manganese.

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Saw this announcement from Apple yesterday.

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Hi @Arvind4b, wanted to check in and schedule a visit to your facility whenever you are available. Do let us know. :slight_smile:

Hello @Pai,

Hope you are doing well. We are planning to inaugurate our facility within the next 2-3 weeks. We would be delighted to have your team as our guests for the event. I will send you the invite in the next few days.

Thank you