Rare Earth Magnets: Ionic and LCM Deepen Collaboration on Western Supply Chains

by | 27. May 2024 - 08:36 | Economy

The companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which also seeks to expand recycling efforts.

Australian mining company Ionic Rare Earths Limited and British firm specializing in rare earth metals and alloys Less Common Metals have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand western supply chains of rare earth magnets (PDF). The MoU builds on an agreement signed in September 2023 under which Ionics UK-based subsidiary works with LCM and the motor company Ford to form a UK supply chain for recycled rare earths to magnets. The now-signed MoU aims to deepen collaboration and secure engagement with the UK and international governments. In addition, the partnership will be expanded from magnets used in EVs to other materials like samarium-cobalt, which is also used in magnets, and scandium, which is used in aircraft construction, for example.

Ionic expects the first rare earth oxides to be shipped to LCM in July, which forges metals and alloys from the material before magnet manufacturing. The produced magnets will supply Ford’s EV drive train manufacturing hub in Halewood, UK. Ford aims to produce 600,000 electric vehicles in Europe annually by 2026; 70 percent of them are set to contain components originating from Halewood. Each production stage creates waste, such as metal swarf and used magnets, which Ionic aims to recycle, creating an enclosed UK supply chain of rare earth magnets.

Photo: TRADIUM GmbH

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