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Ionic Rare Earths’ magnet recycling business, Ionic Technologies, has executed a landmark partnership agreement.

The company has agreed to create a UK rare earth supply chain from recycled magnets with Ford Technologies (Ford), Less Common Metals (LCM) and the British Geological Survey (BGS).

“We are harnessing our technology to accelerate mining, refining and recycling of magnet and heavy rare earths critical for energy transition, advanced manufacturing and defence,” Ionic Rare Earth’s managing director Tim Harrison said.

The company’s technology will be used to produce high purity, separated and traceable rare earths from end-of-life magnets and swarf.

The rare earths will then be sent to LCM for alloy production to be converted to magnets for ultimate use by Ford in electric vehicle (EV) production.

Ionic Technologies developed rare earth element separation and refining technology and applied this to the recycling of spent permanent Neodymium-Iron-Boron (NdFeB) magnets to enable the creation of sustainable rare-earth supply chains.

Each stage of the process from magnet recycling to EV testing will generate waste that the company will recycle, aiming to complete a circular rare earth supply chain within the UK.

The UK government will support the partnership via a £1 million ($1.9 million) project, with Ionic Technologies announced as the major beneficiary and lead collaborator.

The funding is part of the UK Government’s circular critical materials supply chains (CLIMATES) program.

Ionic Technologies aims to establish the first magnet recycling facility in Belfast to feed an escalating supply chain appetite for circular economy magnets.

“Ionic Technologies is driving the emerging supply chain for Rare Earths, and its ability to meet the increasing demand for critical minerals in the UK and abroad,” Ionic Technologies general manager Thomas Kelly said.

“This will enable the UK to meet its net zero ambitions, by serving renewable technologies such as wind energy and EV manufacturing.”