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 America, Ltd. (Earlier post.) 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.
Geomega Resources (TSXV: GMA), a rare earth clean technologies developer, and USA Rare Earth, the funding and development partner of the Round Top heavy rare earth project in Texas, announced Thursday that they have entered into a letter of intent (LOI) to recycle rare earth-containing production waste from USA Rare Earth’s future production of sintered neodymium iron boron permanent magnets.
The $14 billion-a-year rare earth magnet market is more than 60% controlled by China which, under Made in China 2025, is increasingly using rare earth magnets in finished and semi-finished products, as opposed to exporting the magnets, and industry sources estimate the rare earth magnet market will nearly double by 2027.
“The process of manufacturing and machining neo magnet blocks generates up to 30% swarf and scrap (up to 600t), which needs to be recycled. This 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 a rare earth oxide feed required for USA Rare Earth’s magnet plant.”
Quebec-based GeoMegA Resources has developed a proprietary, environmentally-friendly ISR technology that recycles rare earth elements using magnet residue and recycled magnets as the main source of feed. The company intends to process feed from magnet manufacturers, alloy makers, and recyclers across Europe and the US at it’s Canadian facility. The company uses organic, solvent-free proprietary technology to isolate and purify four high demand, high priced rare earth elements, which represents an estimated 30% of annual global demand for rare earth elements and 80% of the total market value.
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However, Quebec and Canada are light years away from having an integrated industry, says Kiril Mugerman, president and chief executive officer of Ressources Géoméga, an SME from Boucherville that owns the Montviel rare earth deposit. , in the Nord-du-Québec region.
“The sooner we produce oxides in North America, the faster we will attract companies capable of making alloys,” he insists.
Mr. McWhirter has more than 30 years in the securities industry and is a top-ranked money manager in Canada. He uses a 12-factor stock selection methodology that has both growth and value characteristics, including: return on equity, earnings surprise, earnings estimate revision, price to book, and price to earnings ratios.
“The (mining) project is not forgotten, it’s still within the company,” said Mugerman, “but today to bring it to value is very hard. It’s a very high risk for a company to begin committing hundreds of millions of dollars when you don’t control your destiny — if the price goes up, China can still bring it down.”
“We started developing the technology from very small scale. You need to be careful — it’s a difficult task. Separating earth elements is one of the most complex chemical processes in the world. Our idea was that we will have our own technology and that will help us to build a mine. The leverage really came when we started developing this technology. We decided that we didn’t want to have a black box where nobody knows how it works and we need to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to build a mine. Instead, we started going towards proving that our technology works by processing existing feeds. The best existing feed is an industrial residue, which is coming from the main application of rare earths — permanent magnets.