US Strategic Metals, Missouri University partner on precursor cathode material research

Credit: US Strategic Metals

US Strategic Metals (USSM) and Missouri University of Science and Technology announced Tuesday they have signed a contract for USSM to support Missouri S&T’s precursor cathode active material (pCAM) research. 

pCAM is the precursor material to cathode active material (CAM) made up of cobalt, nickel and other critical materials that are components of lithium-ion batteries. Currently, most of the pCAM in the world is produced outside the US.

Missouri is endowed with expansive natural resources and is emerging as a player in the green energy transition through Missouri S&T’s extensive research and development and USSM’s bench and pilot scale facilities, the company said.

In December, Appian Capital Advisory committed a $230 million financing package to USSM. With the transaction, USSM reached nearly $500 million in funding and commitments for the development of its cobalt-nickel mine and the construction of a hydrometallurgical battery metals recycling facility in Fredericktown.

“Precursor cathode active material or pCAM production is the missing link in the US battery supply chain, and with this collaboration with Missouri S&T and the support of Missouri DED, we will continue to be on the front lines of the solution,” USSM CEO Stacy Hastie said in a statement.

Under the agreement, USSM will provide training for Missouri S&T personnel (postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students) working on this project to use its extraction facilities to produce pCAM. 

Training will also include instruction on the laboratory parameters USSM has already implemented during its ongoing pCAM test program. Missouri S&T will work with USSM to optimize the solvent extraction process to effectively recover pure salts of battery elements and develop a laboratory process to synthesize pCAM materials.

USSM will provide the necessary reagents, technical assistance and facilities with the goal to produce a first of its kind in North America, battery-grade pCAM in the state of Missouri.