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Geomega, USA Rare Earth sign letter of intent

The date of: 2020-07-30
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source:Recycling Today

Geomega Resources Inc., Montreal, and USA Rare Earth LLC, New York, say they have signed a letter of intent (LOI) to recycle rare earth-containing production waste from USA Rare Earth’s future production of sintered neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) permanent magnets (in the United States. USA Rare Earth is the funding and development partner of the Round Top Heavy Rare Earth and Critical Minerals Project in West Texas.

Geomega and USA Rare Earth say they 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 nonbinding.

As part of its mine-to-magnets strategy, USA Rare Earth purchased the sintered neo magnet manufacturing equipment formerly owned and operated in North Carolina by Hitachi Metals America Ltd.  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, according to a news release from Geomega Resources. Other domestic sources of neo magnets either import magnets for assembly in the U.S. or import sintered neo magnet blocks that are machined and assembled in the US.

The plant was designed to produce more than 2,000 metric tons of sintered neo magnets per year, or approximately 17 percent of current U.S. demand for neo magnets. The process of manufacturing and machining neo magnet blocks generates up to 30 percent swarf and scrap (up to 600 metric tons) for recycling.  Material from USA Rare Earth’s facility and material from machining of other blocks will be the infeed for Geomega’s recycling plant in St.-Bruno, Quebec which, after processing, could become one of the rare earth oxide feeds 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, according to the news release.

“With more than 60 percent of the materials coming out of our Round Top deposit being used in clean tech, green tech and renewable energy applications, we see recycling magnet waste as a natural way to be economically efficient and environmentally responsible,” says Pini Althaus, CEO of USA Rare Earth.  “Geomega’s process to recycle waste and bring it back into our magnet feedstock reconfirms our readiness to innovate at every point in our mine-to-magnets strategy. It is also part of our strategy accelerate revenues from our U.S.-based neo magnet production ahead of mine production from the Round Top project.”

Althaus adds, “We see this collaboration with Geomega as an example of the kind of cooperation called for by the U.S. and Canadian governments in the area of critical minerals and rare earths in particular.”

“We are very excited to be working in collaboration with USA Rare Earth,” says Kiril Mugerman, president and CEO of Geomega. “We both share the same vision to bring rare earth magnet production back to North America while securing the critical rare earth elements using Geomega’s clean technology to process magnet waste.”

He adds, “Establishing a partnership initiative such as this in North America will prevent any supply chain disruptions from China for these critical elements. Every rare earth magnet factory produces waste. By working together, Geomega and USA Rare Earth will ensure that the rare earths contained in this waste shall remain in North America and are then reused to make more rare earth magnets for the U.S. and Canadian markets that comply with the McCain National Defense Authorization Act. It will be a great opportunity to demonstrate to global magnet manufacturers that there are innovative solutions to obtain rare earths from trusted sources that don’t harm the environment and produce less greenhouse gases than the current outdated methods used in China. Geomega’s vision is for every magnet factory to use our technology in order to recycle their waste and not be dependent on foreign entities.”



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