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How Ionic Technologies Is Revolutionizing Rare Earth Recycling

The company’s innovative process recovers high-purity rare earth oxides from magnets, creating a circular and sustainable supply chain

by Victor Adetimilehin

Ionic Technologies is a pioneer in the recycling of Neodymium-Iron-Boron (NdFeB) permanent magnets to high purity separated magnet rare earth oxides (REOs), enabling the creation of sustainable, traceable, and sovereign rare earth supply chains.


Rare earths are essential for many modern technologies, such as electric vehicles, wind turbines, smartphones, and defense systems. However, the global supply of rare earths is dominated by China, which poses economic and environmental challenges for the rest of the world.


Ionic Technologies aims to address these challenges by developing a patented process that recovers high-purity magnet REOs from end-of-life products and manufacturing scrap. The process is environmentally friendly, energy efficient, and scalable, and can produce REOs that meet or exceed the specifications of primary producers.


A Circular and Traceable Solution


Ionic Technologies’ process is based on the principle of circular economy, which aims to minimize waste and maximize resource efficiency. By recycling magnets, the company reduces the need for mining new rare earths, which can have negative impacts on the environment and human health. Recycling also helps to conserve the limited supply of rare earths, which are expected to face increasing demand in the future.


Additionally, Ionic Technologies’ process provides a traceable and transparent solution for the rare earth industry. The company can track the origin and quality of the magnets it recycles, and provide certificates of analysis for its REO products. This ensures that the recycled REOs meet the standards and requirements of the downstream customers, such as metal, alloy, and magnet manufacturers, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).


Collaborating for a Better Future


Ionic Technologies is not working alone in its mission to create a sustainable rare earth supply chain. According to a report by Mining Review, the company has established several collaborations with industry partners and government agencies to expand its global offering and demonstrate its technological capabilities.


For instance, Ionic Technologies has partnered with Less Common Metals (LCM), a UK-based metal and alloy producer, and Ford Technologies, a leading OEM, to establish a traceable and circular supply chain for rare earths in the UK. The initiative, funded by the UK Government’s Innovate UK, aims to cater to the specific needs of electric vehicle motors.


Ionic Technologies has also teamed up with the British Geological Survey to conduct a feasibility study for a commercial magnet recycling plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The project, also supported by Innovate UK, will explore the potential of creating a regional hub for rare earth recycling in Europe.


Scaling Up Production


Ionic Technologies has been producing high-purity magnet REOs since June 2023, running through Q3 2023. The company has installed additional processing equipment and upgraded its control system, which is undergoing final commissioning.


The company is gearing up its operations at its demonstration plant to 24-hour, 7-day-a-week production capacity. The plant can process over 300 kg of magnets and produce over 700 kg of magnet slurry per day.


Ionic Technologies plans to scale up its production further by building a commercial-scale plant in the US, which will have a capacity of 1,500 metric tons of magnet input per year. The company expects to start construction in 2024 and begin operations in 2025.


A Leader in Rare Earth Recycling


Ionic Technologies is a leader in rare earth recycling, offering a unique and innovative solution that benefits the environment, the economy, and the society. The company is committed to advancing its technology and expanding its market presence, while collaborating with its partners and customers to create a better future for the rare earth industry.

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