Asia: Metals worth more than 19 trillion won (US$ 18 billion) were extracted from South Korea’s urban mines in 2016 and satisfied 22% of the nation’s demand in that year, according to the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology.
Leading battery recycler SungEel HiTech confirms that South Korea’s e-cycling market is booming; the company has already boosted its recycling capacity threefold this year.
Based in the south western city of Gunsan, SungEel HiTech processes approximately 8000 tonnes of discarded lithium-ion batteries and metal scrap annually. This yields roughly 830 tonnes of lithium phosphate, as well as 1000 tonnes of cobalt metal equivalent and 600 tonnes of nickel.
The battery recycler has revealed to Reuters that it plans to increase its processing capacity to 24 000 tonnes by 2019. Further expansion is scheduled for 2021 – including overseas operations, according to SungEel HiTech’s president Yi Kang-myung.
Samsung SDI and LG Chem are some of the big names to which the recycler caters. In recent years, there has also been significant interest too from car manufacturers.
An estimated 150 small and-medium sized companies currently operate in South Korea’s urban mining sector. Between 60% and 70% of the products recycled are thought to originate from the USA and Europe, while the rest comes from the domestic market.