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30 Nov 2020 | 09:07

Mkango investment HyProMag gets grant for magnet recycling project

(Sharecast News) - Mkango Resources announced on Monday that HyProMag and its partners, European Metal Recycling and the University of Birmingham have been awarded a grant from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, delivered by UK Research and Innovation, for a new project, 'Rare-Earth Extraction from Audio Products', or 'REAP'. The AIM-traded firm's subsidiary Maginito holds a 25% equity interest in HyProMag, with an option to increase its interest up to 49%.

It said REAP would investigate ways of recycling rare earth magnets from speakers used in automotive and consumer electronics applications, which account for around 20% of the current market for rare earth magnets, according to Adamas Intelligence

They therefore represented a "significant opportunity" for rare earth magnet recycling, the company explained.

"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," said Mkango chief executive officer William Dawes.

"The REAP project complements the RaRE project - 'Rare Earth Recycling for E-Machines' - announced earlier in the year, and further cements HyProMag's and the 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 at HyProMag, added that with demand for rare earth magnets accelerating, it was "imperative" that viable economic solutions to reclaim end-of-life magnets were found.

"Current estimates suggest that the recycling rate of rare earth magnets from end of life products stands at below 5%," Mann said.

"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."

At 0902 GMT, shares in Mkango Resources were up 8.25% at 12.99p.
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