Carcinogens, Child Labor and Birth Defects? Here's How One Company Is Proposing a Solution to Some of the Electrical Vehicle Industry's Byproducts

Carcinogens, Child Labor and Birth Defects? Here's How One Company Is Proposing a Solution to Some of the Electrical Vehicle Industry's Byproducts

Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

The following post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga.

The electronic vehicle (EV) age is upon us.

According to EV-Volumes.com, EV sales were up 160% in the 1st half of 2021 from the same time a year earlier, amounting to 2.6 million units sold worldwide. Despite the supply-chain crisis that struck the EV industry earlier, the data analytics firm expects sales of 6.4 million units by the end of the year, a growth of 98% over 2020.

With most sales arriving from China and Europe, North Americans observing the rapid rise of the EV sector often look at the stock prices of companies like Tesla Inc. TSLA, Nio Inc. NIO, and Lithium Americas Corp. LAC, each of which has created large returns.

Governments have shared in investors’ enthusiasm for the EV space. U.S. President Joe Biden, for example, set out an ambitious goal to make 50% of all vehicles sold in 2023 electric, and China’s leaders have imposed mandates on car manufacturers that require a certain percentage of their fleets to be battery powered. 

These initiatives paint the EV industry as a proponent of the environment and human rights, but a chasm sometimes exists between this ideal and reality.

The EV Problem?

One of the main components of a lithium-ion battery, the kind that powers EVs, is cobalt. The Democratic Republic of Congo produces more than 70% of the world’s cobalt. The country's poor infrastructure and lack of support can regularly place natives in terrible working conditions.

Human rights violations sadly are reported to occur relatively often in Congolese mines. Toxic pollution from cobalt mines, for example, causes birth defects in the children of cobalt miners. Studies show that high numbers of children are born with limb abnormalities, cleft palates, and neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Additionally, children between the ages of 3 and 17 work these cobalt mines often without access to basic equipment such as gloves and face masks and can exhibit coughing, lung pain, and urinary tract infections.

To make matters worse, the improper disposal of depleted ion batteries, along with improper lithium mining practices, has placed certain living species at risk and polluted Earth. Chemical leakages in landfills, for example, expel nickel, lead, and cadmium, which are funneled into the soil. These chemicals have carcinogenic properties and create hostile living environments.

In Chile, lithium mining activities have left an unnaturally blue hue in water reserves, leaving farmers unable to grow crops. In Tibet, a lithium leakage from a nearby mine created a spectacle of floating fish, cow, and yak carcasses along the Liqi River, an event that was heavily protested by Tibetan locals.

Tuning Down the Pain with RecycLiCo™

In an attempt to reduce the environmental and humanitarian impact of the EV industry, American Manganese Inc. AMY AMYZF says it has created a way to recycle and upcycle depleted lithium-ion batteries.

Through a patented process called RecycLiCo, the company claims it can leach valuable battery materials, achieving a high recovery and purity of materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, and aluminum.

The company claims that through the high-quality upcycling process, manufacturers can use the upcycled material to recreate the cathode of a lithium-ion battery through minimal processing steps, saving harmful emissions, operating steps, and costs.

At the time of such great innovations as electric vehicles, a responsible and sustainable approach to the company’s manufacturing and processing is needed to ensure that it fulfills its ethical and technological duties.

American Manganese Inc. says its innovative recycling and upcycling process can help achieve this sustainability.

The preceding post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga. Although the piece is not and should not be construed as editorial content, the sponsored content team works to ensure that any and all information contained within is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and research. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.

Posted In: American ManganesePartner ContentPenny StocksEmerging MarketsMarkets