S.N.A.M. was created in 1977, with a major activity in the extraction of the cadmium contained in waste originating from the production or recovery of nickel cadmium batteries. The first plant has been in operation at St Quentin Fallavier (Isere - France). The plant has received authorisation for the treatment of 1,500 tonnes of cadmium containing by-products.

In 1988, S.N.A.M. has built a new factory in Viviez (Department of Aveyron - France) with a treatment authorisation of 4,000 tonnes of cadmium-containing waste.

❖ Plant located in St-Quentin Fallavier (built in 1981)

This plant is authorised by prefectorial order AP 90.47.18 (dated October 3, 1990) to treat 1,500 tonnes per annum of products containing cadmium. The original 1981 permit was updated in 1990.

Its current capacity is 1,400 tonnes with 6 distillation furnaces. It specialises in the treatment of used nickel cadmium sealed cells and those rejected during manufacture.

❖ Plant located in Viviez (built in 1988)

The plant is authorised by prefectorial order AP 97.1750 (dated July 24, 1997) to accept and treat 4,000 tonnes of raw materials.

Its current capacity is 3,300 tonnes with 9 distillation furnaces. It treats all types of waste but mainly nickel-cadmium industrial batteries and production waste.

Together, the annual output of the 2 factories is over 700 tonnes of cadmium metal of a purity of 99.99 % by weight and more than 650 tonnes of nickel in the form of iron nickel residues (1,900 tonnes) or ferro-nickel. The balance is made of plastic materials (cases of the industrial batteries, plastic shells around the power packs etc.), of scrap iron (metallic cases of the industrial batteries, iron residues coming form the distillation of negative pocket plates). These products are valorised at a market value either for energy production or scrap.

Figure 8 shows the general flow sheet of the SNAM process, while Figures 9 and 10 provide details of the recycling schemes of NiCd batteries and NiMH batteries, respectively.

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