Hydromet – a revolution in metals processing

Hydromet processing supports the needs of decarbonising supply chains with sustainable metal solutions for the EV and green hydrogen industries.

The full value of Kabanga as a key source of new battery grade metals will be unlocked by this lower energy-intensity; lower emission processing technology.

Lifezone’s hydrometallurgical (“hydromet”) processing technology is a transformational method that has the potential to replace smelting for base and precious metals refining.

Find out how the Hydromet Technology works and why we believe it’s a ground-breaking solution to deliver cleaner battery metals and reduced emissions to support the green energy transition.

How does it work?

It eliminates the carbon intense smelting phase from nickel refining1, 2:

  • Leaching metallic concentrates with liquid solvents
  • Process replaces fire and smoke with water and clean air
  • Has the potential to reduce electricity consumption
  • Eliminates SO2 emissions
  • Reduction in CO2 equivalent emissions
  • Shortens the mine to metal production timeline and cost conversion cycle
  • Cyanide free

By adopting hydromet technology for processing nickel concentrate, Kabanga’s environmental footprint is expected to outperform industry baselines1, 2

1 – Nickel Class 1 downstream processing CO2 eq. emissions baseline from 2020 Nickel Institute LCA. Estimated Kabanga refinery expected emissions from internal Company analysis.
2 – Expected reductions are lower for PGMs, as they utilize a more complicated flowsheet and are more energy intensive. For example, a study from EY Cova (an independent South African National Accreditation System accredited energy Measurement and Verification inspection body) found 46% lower emissions utilizing our Hydromet Technology compared to traditional smelting and refining (EY Cova studied PGM metals at the originally proposed 110 ktpa concentrate feed rate refinery at the Sedibelo plant site in South Africa under the then-applicable conditions in 2020 and assuming reagents not manufactured on-site; actual results could differ). Results will vary for specific PGM projects.

Value creation

Hydromet carries significant cost and sustainability advantages and will keep the process of nickel concentrate production in-country.

Our technology will:

  • Drive greater value creation and facilitate the retention of value in host countries.
  • Eliminate the requirement to export concentrate long distances to European or Asian smelters and refineries for further processing, transforming our carbon footprint and shortening the mine to metal production timeline.
  • Roll out global access to a portfolio of over 100 patents across the world’s battery and hydrogen economies.
  • A market changing innovation, set to expand into recycling of green energy metals and EV waste.
“Our mission is to remove polluting smelters from the metals supply chain, and, in developing Lifezone’s hydromet technology, we have a solution which eliminates this harmful practice from metals refining.”
Keith Liddell, Chairman, Lifezone Metals

Hydromet potential

Lifezone Metals is poised to take advantage of the long-term supply deficit in greener nickel and, surging demand from battery manufacturers.

The Hydromet Technology provides a cleaner metals processing solution, supporting a greener battery-metals supply chain.

The Hydromet Technology has the potential to advance its capabilities to autocatalytic recycling of metals.