Glencore may look elsewhere for recycling hub after Italy rejects fast-track approval

MILAN (Reuters) – Glencore Plc may look at alternative options for a recycling hub in Europe for electric car batteries after the Italian region of Sardinia rejected a fast-track approval process for its pilot project, the mining company said.

Glencore and battery recycler Li-Cycle Holdings Corp said in May they planned to develop a recycling hub in Italy to produce materials, including lithium carbonate, to respond to a global shortage of key raw materials for a fast growing production of electric cars.

The companies said they would set up the hub in Portovesme, in Sardinia, by re-purposing Glencore’s existing production sites on the island. The commissioning of the hub was expected to start in late 2026 to early 2027.

Sardinia’s regional government said on Friday the pilot project for the recycling hub could not be granted a fast-track approval process.

“The regional government’s decision to submit the demonstration project to a full environmental impact assessment is very disappointing,” Glencore said in an emailed statement.

“Glencore may consider alternative options for a European battery materials processing hub if the unnecessary extension of the approval process results in a delayed timeline that makes the project economically unviable,” it said.

Glencore said it had and continued to act in accordance with all the regulatory requirements relating to the demonstration project and it remained committed to providing further details on the plant’s impact.

“The site would be re-purposed in full compliance with the relevant health, safety, and environmental standards,” the miner said.

Sardinia’s regional government was not immediately available for comment on the issue.

(Reporting by Francesca Landini. Editing by Jane Merriman)