Mkango announces the launch of an innovative project to use recycled rare earth magnets in electric vehicles.
Mkango Resources Ltd is pleased to announce the launch and provide further details of the Innovate UK grant-funded project, “Rare-Earth Recycling for E-Machines” (“RaRE” or the “Project”) in which HyProMag Limited (“HyProMag”) is a partner. Mkango’s subsidiary, Maginito Limited (“Maginito”), holds a 25% equity interest in HyProMag.
RaRE will for the first time establish an end to end supply chain to incorporate recycled rare earth magnets into electric vehicles, whereby recycled magnets will be built into an ancillary electric motor to ultimately support the development of a commercial ancillary motor suite.
Fundamental to the 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 (“MMG”) at the University of Birmingham (“UoB”) and subsequently licenced to HyProMag. In addition to HyProMag and UoB, the Project features a strong set of partners with complementary expertise:
- Advanced Electric Machines Research Limited – extensive experience in designing motors for customers including Airbus and Tevva Motors
- Bentley Motors Limited – an iconic automotive brand and part of the VW Group, one of the world’s largest car manufacturers
- Intelligent Lifecycle Solutions Limited – a global leader in the processing of electronics waste working with Fortune 500 companies and UK government agencies
- Unipart Powertrain Applications Limited – one of the largest UK based Tier 1 automotive partners and a recognised volume automotive supplier able to supply globally
The total budget for RaRE is £2.6 million, of which Innovate UK will fund £1.9 million with Project partners funding the £0.7 million balance. HyProMag’s contribution will be fully funded from the £300,000 investment made by Maginito in January 2020.
William Dawes, Chief Executive of Mkango said:
“We are very excited about this innovative project and the opportunity to scale up and commercialise the HPMS technology. We envisage that recycling of rare earth magnets will play a key role in the development of robust supply chains to catalyse and support growth in the electric vehicle sector and in other clean technologies. Further building on our platform within the circular economy and downstream markets is a key component of our strategy, underpinned by the sustainable development of the Songwe Hill rare earths project in Malawi.”
Daniel Mamadou, Executive Director of Talaxis said:
“We are excited to see this project progress to its next phase and welcome the support of all partners involved. With the increasing need for sustainably sourced commodities, RaRE highlights the role that closed loops chains can play in rare earths supply, to meet the environmental and economic demands of the growing electric vehicle market. As an early participant in this project, we look forward to continuing to support the development of the rare earth recycling industry going forward, in parallel with the Songwe Hill rare earths project in Malawi.”
Nick Mann, Operations General Manager of HyProMag said:
“RaRE is an exciting project and a fantastic opportunity to prove the importance and worth of short loop recycled magnetic material. NdFeB magnets are essential for many future technologies, and the emerging electric vehicle market is of increasing importance. Being involved at this level means we not only get to work with and supply recycled magnets to some of the most innovative and globally recognised companies, but also allows us to influence the design of products with the aim of making recycling a better option in the future. I believe this is industry, technology, recycling and innovation working together at its impressive best.”
Building on work completed at the UoB to devise a method to extract magnets from waste electronics, HyProMag will scale up the HPMS process and re-process the product back into new magnetic materials at pilot scale to demonstrate the quality of material which can be produced in terms of its magnetic behaviour, mechanical performance and corrosion resistance, all of which are key to the end-user application.
Intelligent Lifecycle Solutions will establish the scrap sorting process to maximise process efficiency and rare earth material volumes.
The recycled magnets will be built into an ancillary electric motor designed by Advanced Electric Machines Research to a Bentley Motors specification and focused on reducing the overall complexity of electrical systems in electric vehicles and designed with recycling in mind. This will be the first time that such a recycled motor will have been demonstrated. Unipart will take this motor design and use it as the core focus for the design of a flexible volume motor assembly line suitable for production volumes of 100,000 units per year.
Innovate UK will fund £1.9 million of the £2.6 million total Project costs with the balance funded by the Project partners. In the case of HyProMag, Innovate UK will contribute £657,717 and HyProMag will contribute £281,879. HyProMag’s contribution will be fully funded from the investment by Maginito in HyProMag announced on January 10, 2020, whereby Maginito invested £300,000 for a 25% equity interest in HyProMag and provided a £200,000 convertible loan facility, now fully drawn.
Maginito has an option to increase its interest to up to 49% in HyProMag and 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.
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.