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Mkango Announces Grant-Funded Project to Develop Rare Earth Recycling for Loudspeakers

The date of: 2020-12-01
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source:GlobeNewswire

LONDON and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov. 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mkango Resources Ltd. (AIM/TSX-V: MKA) (the 'Company' or 'Mkango') is pleased to announce that HyProMag Limited (“HyProMag”) and partners, European Metal Recycling Limited (“EMR”) and University of Birmingham (“UoB”) 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” or the “Project”).

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.

Mkango’s subsidiary, Maginito Limited (“Maginito”), holds a 25% equity interest in HyProMag, with an option to increase its interest up to 49%.

William Dawes, Chief Executive of Mkango stated: “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. 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 stated: “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.”

Fundamental to the REAP Project is a patented process for extracting and demagnetising neodymium iron boron (“NdFeB”) alloy powders from magnets embedded in scrap and redundant equipment named HPMS (Hydrogen Processing of Magnet Scrap), originally developed within the Magnetic Materials Group at the University of Birmingham and subsequently licenced to HyProMag.

The other Project partner, EMR, is a global leader in metal recycling, operating at 150 locations around the world. EMR will pre-process automotive and flat screen TV loudspeaker scrap to provide a feed of scrap components containing NdFeB magnets to HyProMag. HyProMag will use the HPMS process in conjunction with the University of Birmingham to extract the magnets as a demagnetised alloy powder, which can be used in the remanufacture of magnets. The short loop recycling processes which are being developed by HyProMag will have a significant environmental benefit compared to primary production of magnets.

The total budget for REAP is £256,144, of which £174,744 will be funded by UKRI through the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge, part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, with the balance funded by the Project partners. HyProMag’s contribution will be fully funded from the £300,000 investment made by Maginito in January 2020.

Maginito is 75.5% owned by Mkango, which is completing a Feasibility Study for the Songwe Hill rare earths project in Malawi, and 24.5% owned by Talaxis Limited (“Talaxis”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Noble Group Holdings Limited (“Noble”), which is focused on investment in and development of technology metal opportunities.

Maginito has the first right to supply primary production from Songwe Hill, if required, for blending with recycled production from HyProMag, as well as product offtake and marketing rights.



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