Cooperation for recycling of rare-earth magnets
As part of its mine-to-magnets strategy, earlier this year USA Rare Earth purchased the sintered neo magnet manufacturing equipment formerly owned and operated in North Carolina by Hitachi Metals. USA Rare Earth is currently evaluating options for the location of the plant, which will become the first neo magnet manufacturing plant in North America since the Hitachi facility ceased operations in 2015. Other domestic sources of neo magnets either import magnets for assembly in the US or import sintered neo magnet blocks that are machined and assembled in the US.
The plant was designed to produce in excess of 2,000 tonnes of sintered neo magnets per year, or approximately 17% of current U.S. demand for neo magnets. The process of manufacturing and machining neo magnet blocks generates up to 30% swarf and scrap (up to 600 tonnes), which needs to be recycled. Material from USA Rare Earth’s facility and material from machining of other blocks will be the feed for Geomega’s recycling plant located in St-Bruno, Quebec which, after processing, could become one of the rare earth oxide feed required for USA Rare Earth’s magnet plant. USA Rare Earth is expected to make all its swarf and scrap available for Geomega to recycle for a minimum period of five years, commencing on the effective date of a definitive agreement between the companies.
Geomega and USA Rare Earth will negotiate mutually acceptable commercial terms including the possibility of a license agreement to develop a recycling facility at the location of its permanent magnet factory. Until such time, this LOI remains non-binding.