Canadian Mining Journal


RECYCLING: Lithium Australia subsidiary to use metals from batteries for fertilizers

AUSTRALIA – Envirostream Australia, a 90%-owned subsidiary of Lithium Australia, has announced that it is working on a project aimed at assessing the use of zinc and manganese derived from recycled alkaline batteries as micronutrients in blended fertilizers.

According to Envirostream, the fertilizer/wheat-seeding trial is being held near Kojonup, about 260 km southeast of Perth.

The zinc and manganese used in the fertilizers were recovered, as mixed metal dust (MMD), from single-use, disposable alkaline batteries like the ones commonly found in toys and remote-control units. Once recovered, the dust was agglomerated with mono-ammonium phosphate.

To conduct the trial, some seed furrows were left with no fertilizer; others received mono-ammonium phosphate fertilizer; others got mono-ammonium phosphate agglomerated with two different dosages of Envirostream’s MMD; while others were sprinkled with commercial fertilizer with added zinc and manganese.

“While fertilizers incorporating rapid-release micronutrients derived from alkaline batteries are available commercially in the northern hemisphere, the micronutrients Envirostream is producing are slow-release variants tailored specifically for broad-acre farming in Western Australia (WA),” the company said in a media statement. “It is hoped that the use of such nutrients in slow-release form – believed to be a first for the Antipodes – in the sandy soils, low in zinc and manganese, that characterise WA’s wheatbelt region will provide growers with significant benefits.”

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