Posted in | News | Recycling

First Production of Recycled Magnets at Tyseley Energy Park in Birmingham, UK Major Milestone for Hypromag

Mkango Resources Ltd. (the “Company” or “Mkango”) is pleased to announce the first production of recycled rare earth magnets in the United Kingdom on commercial scale magnet manufacturing equipment in over 20 years, a major milestone in securing critical raw materials for the energy transition.

Highlights:

  • First production runs of short-loop recycled rare earth magnets completed at the Tyseley Energy Park (“Tyseley”) rare earths hub in Birmingham, UK - commercial production targeted for mid-2024
  • First UK production of sintered rare earth magnets on commercial scale equipment in over 20 years – new domestic source to catalyse electric vehicle, wind turbine and other clean technology industries
  • Tyseley scale-up underpinned by successful piloting at University of Birmingham with over 3,000 finished rare earth magnets produced from piloting to date
  • Strong interest for recycled magnets from potential customers and for recycling solutions from original equipment manufacturers (“OEMs”), and automotive and recycling companies
  • Hydrogen Processing of Magnet Scrap (“HPMS”) technology being commercialised by HyProMag isfar cleaner and more energy efficient than traditional magnet recycling processes
  • HyProMag was selected by the Minerals Security Partnership (“MSP”) for support as one of its key projects given its strong potential to contribute towards the development of responsible critical mineral supply chains

Production of recycled rare earth magnets at Tyseley is being developed by the University of Birmingham and HyProMag, which is owned by Mkango’s 79.4% held subsidiary, Maginito Limited (“Maginito”). Further production runs are planned in the coming weeks to provide customer and project partner samples.

Commercial production at Tyseley is targeted for mid-2024, with initial throughput targeted at 20 tonnes per annum (“tpa”) rare earth magnets and alloys, scaling up to a minimum of 100tpa in subsequent months. Larger scale up scenarios of up to 1,000tpa are currently being evaluated.

HyProMag is the main industrial partner for the Tyseley development and the exclusive licencee for underlying HPMS technology, developed at the University of Birmingham and now being commercialised by HyProMag. HPMS is a revolutionary new recycling technology that preserves the quality of the original magnets for reprocessing; a far cleaner and more energy efficient process than the traditional dismantling, thermal demagnetisation and cleaning processes and lends itself to automated and efficient processing. The resulting recycled magnets are being made to recognised industrial grades.

The Tyseley development forms the basis for the 2024 development of magnet recycling and manufacture in Germany by HyProMag GmbH and for the 2025/2026 development of a multi-spoke and hub operation in the United States through the joint venture with CoTec Holdings Ltd (“CoTec”).

Commissioning of the remaining equipment and infrastructure at Tyseley is expected in the coming weeks, underpinning the subsequent transition to commercial production. For these initial production runs, the recycled raw material feed was derived from wind turbine magnets, voice coil assemblies from hard disk drives and production scrap which was processed through the existing recycling pilot plant commissioned in 2022 at the University of Birmingham, and then transported for short loop magnet manufacture at Tyseley.

Will Dawes, Chief Executive of Mkango said: “This is a major milestone for the Company, HyProMag and for the UK, creating a strong platform to advance to commercial production and for the scale-up and roll-out of HPMS technology into Germany, United States and other jurisdictions. HyProMag’s recycling technology has major competitive advantages versus other recycling technologies, and is a key enabler for the cost effective and energy efficient separation and recycling of rare earth magnets, avoiding the need for dismantling, and enabling the production of magnets with a significantly reduced carbon footprint.”

Nick Mann, Operations General Manager of HyProMag said: “Beginning production on commercial scale equipment is very exciting for all of us at HyProMag. We are receiving strong market interest to begin delivering recycled magnets to customers at scale – being able to start that over the coming months will be extremely positive. We also look forward to implementing the lessons learned as we see equipment arriving in Germany next year and in the USA soon afterwards.”

Professor Allan Walton, Head of the Magnetic Materials Group, University of Birmingham, and founding Director of HyProMag said: “A huge amount of work has been carried out over the last year on the existing pilot plant at the University of Birmingham to produce a spectrum of NdFeB magnets with a range of magnetic grades. This has allowed us to test recycled magnets in a range of products for the first time with extremely encouraging results. The installation of the new equipment at Tyseley Energy Park has allowed us to prove that these properties can be achieved on a commercial scale for the first time on automated equipment. This is a massive step forward and reintroduces commercial sintered magnet manufacturing back into the UK for the first time in over 20 years”.

HyProMag is receiving strong interest for recycled magnets from potential customers, underpinning the transition to commercial operations, and for recycling solutions from original equipment manufacturers (“OEMs”), and automotive and recycling companies looking for a low cost and energy efficient circular solution for magnet recycling that does not require dismantling – HyProMag’s patented HPMS technology provides the solution.

The magnets produced at Tyseley were of commercial grade, featuring a square loop with good coercivity (resistance to demagnetisation) and remanence (magnetic strength), which are key measures of magnetic performance.

Apart from providing feed during the commissioning phase of the Tyseley development, the pilot plant at the University of Birmingham has enabled the testing of a broad variety of scrap streams and the production of a wide range of products since its commissioning in 2022, generating operating information to support the scale-up and commercialisation of operations. Furthermore, over 3,000 finished rare earth magnets have been produced to date by HyProMag and the University of Birmingham from recycled HPMS powder produced for project partners and potential customers from the pilot scale equipment. These magnets are being tested in a wide range of applications including multiple automotive, aerospace, electronics applications, and others planned, providing valuable marketing and technical information to further support the scale-up and commercialisation of operations.

Apart from the production of finished magnets, the University of Birmingham pilot plant has also produced alloys for remelt testing and chemical processing, maximising the flexibility of the product suite and the ability to process 3 different scrap streams. Mkango is also developing a further pilot plant at Tyseley for long loop recycling via a chemical process, which complements the HyProMag short loop recycling process and will also be commissioned in the coming weeks. Material for chemical processing, including swarf (the powder produced from grinding and finishing magnets), will either be processed in-house by Mkango, or in partnership with third parties.

Source: https://hypromag.com/

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