HomeCentral AfricaRare earth recycling project for loudspeakers announced

Rare earth recycling project for loudspeakers announced

Several entities have been awarded a grant from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), for a new project entitled “Rare-Earth Extraction from Audio Products” (REAP).

The group includes Mkango Resources has announced that HyProMag and partners, European Metal Recycling (EMR) and University of Birmingham (UoB).

REAP will investigate ways of recycling rare earth magnets from speakers used in automotive and consumer electronics applications, which account for approximately 20% 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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Mkango’s subsidiary, Maginito holds a 25% equity interest in HyProMag, with an option to increase its interest up to 49%.

William Dawes, CE of Mkango states:

“Rare earth magnet recycling from end-of-life components represents a significant market opportunity and will become an increasingly important part of the rare earth supply chain in the UK, Europe and elsewhere.

“The REAP project complements the RaRE project (Rare Earth Recycling for E-Machines) announced earlier in the year, and further cements HyProMag’s and University of Birmingham’s positions as leaders in the field.

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“Mkango is uniquely positioned in the rare earths supply chain, developing sustainable solutions for the supply of rare earth carbonate, NdPr oxide, NdFeB alloys and magnets, underpinned by the strategic partnership with HyProMag and sustainable development of the Songwe Hill rare earths project in Malawi, for which a feasibility study is underway.”

Nick Mann, Operations General Manager of HyProMag states:

“With demand for rare earth magnets accelerating, it is imperative that we find viable economic solutions to reclaim end of life magnets that are currently lost. Current estimates suggest that the recycling rate of rare earth magnets from end of life products stands at below 5%.

“The REAP project is focused on one of the biggest potential sources of those magnets, namely loudspeakers.

“Innovative processes developed to overcome the challenges around extracting magnets from assemblies are integral to the REAP project, and we are very pleased to be working with EMR and the University of Birmingham to further optimise these processes for audio products.”