Mkango’s groundbreaking of project to recycle rare earth magnets from loudspeakers successfully completed

Mkango Resources Limited, a rare earth element and associated minerals exploration and development company, has disclosed that it has successfully completed ground breaking of the project to recycle rare earth magnets from loudspeakers in vehicles and flat screen televisions.

The project is led by HyProMag Limited (“HyProMag”), European Metal Recycling Limited (“EMR”) and University of Birmingham (“UoB”), funded through a grant from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

William Dawes, Chief Executive Officer

Mkango Chief Executive William Dawes described the completion of the groundbreaking as a significant milestone for HyProMag, University of Birmingham and European Metal Recycling, demonstrating another potential source of both feedstock and route to market for recycled rare earth magnets.

Dawes added that recycling is a key component of Mkango’s “mine, refine, recycle” strategy via its strategic interest in HyProMag, and will become an increasingly important part of the rare earth supply chain in the UK, Europe and elsewhere.

“HyProMag is well positioned to unlock that supply chain with access to the technology, expertise and network of partnerships to make it happen, and Mkango looks forward to supporting HyProMag as it scales up to commercial production,” he said.

In his remarks, HyProMag Operations General Manager Nick Mann said his company is pleased to have successfully completed this groundbreaking project, which has identified a useful and accessible source of end of life magnets that can be collected, extracted and remanufactured on a commercially viable basis.

“As demand and therefore price of NdFeB magnets continues to rise, the need to capture waste material for recycling becomes imperative for economic as well as environmental reasons.

“REAP further advances the novel techniques required to recycle rare earth magnets from audio products, which account for around 20 per cent of the NdFeB market each year. HyProMag looks forward to developing these techniques alongside EMR with a view to further scale up and commercialization,” said Mann.

A statement Mkango has issued today highlights that the recycling process is underpinned by hydrogen processing of magnet scrap (HPMS) technology, originally developed within the Magnetic Materials Group at UoB and subsequently licenced to HyProMag.

The statement says the quantity, properties, economics and suitability of loudspeaker magnets for recycling was confirmed in the project, with the recycled magnets produced having comparable magnetic properties to the initial starting magnets.

“This highly encouraging result highlights that HPMS can be used to create a new sustainable and low energy impact feedstock, which would otherwise be lost to landfill, for the commercial manufacture of rare earth magnets for the UK supply chain, and provides a strong platform to scale up production.

“HyProMag, together with its strong network of partnerships, access to Intellectual Property and longstanding experience in the sector, has a significant opportunity to unlock the supply chain for recycling of rare earth magnets from a diverse range of sources, including electric vehicles, wind turbines and electronic devices,” reads part of the statement.

Mkango’s subsidiary, Maginito Limited (“Maginito”), holds a 25 per cent equity interest in HyProMag, with an option to increase its interest up to 49 per cent. Maginito has the first right to supply primary production, if required for blending with recycled production from HyProMag, as well as product offtake and marketing rights.

Rare earth magnets play a key role in clean energy technologies including electric vehicles and wind turbine generators, but they are also a key component in electronic devices including mobile phones, hard disk drives and loudspeakers.

Loudspeakers account for approximately 20 percent of the current market for rare earth magnets, according to Adamas Intelligence, and therefore represent a significant opportunity for rare earth magnet recycling.

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