IonicRE subsidiary mulls expansion of Belfast magnet recycling demo plant's capacity

IonicRE MD Tim Harrison

IonicRE chairperson Brett Lynch

15th April 2024

By: Creamer Media Reporter


Font size: - +

Amid significant demand for the production of rare earth oxides (REOs) from magnet recycling, which is currently essentially non-existent in the Western world, Ionic Technologies International, a subsidiary of ASX-listed Ionic Rare Earths (IonicRE), is exploring options to increase the capacity of its demonstration plant, in Belfast, in the UK.

IonicRE points out that Ionic Technologies continues to receive numerous requests from various magnet REO supply chain participants and potential strategic partners to run both end-of-life magnet material and swarf and magnet production waste stream trials through the Belfast rare earth recycling plant.

It adds that the demonstration plant's production schedule is already full through to the third quarter of next year, with several supply chain participants, original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and potential strategic partners visiting the Northern Ireland facility to evaluate plant performance and production output first-hand.

The accelerating demand follows Ionic Technologies’ successful continuous production of magnet REOs at the facility, with throughput ramping up to nameplate capacity. This production achievement also facilitates further collaboration with global automakers and partners Ford Motor Company and Less Common Metals, with the goal of developing a UK magnet REO supply chain.

Discussions to date have looked at accessing the magnet recycling opportunity now, as a first step to facilitate immediate capacity in building a more robust recycling-to-magnets supply chain, together with exploring access to the basket of magnet and heavy rare earths to be produced at IonicRE's Makuutu project, in Uganda, as capacity grows over the next few years.

IonicRE continues to build a multinational supply chain across the UK, Brazil and Uganda, with current heavy REO production considered a blind spot in the automotive supply chain, should supply not increase substantially more than currently projected, the company states.

In Europe, the European Union’s (EU's) €300-billion Critical Raw Materials Act identifies strategic raw materials critical to Europe’s green and digital ambitions and defence and space applications, while addressing future supply risks. By 2030, at least 25% of the EU’s yearly consumption of such materials must be from recycled sources, with not more than 65% of the EU's yearly consumption of each strategic raw material at any relevant stage of processing to be sourced from a single country.

“It is exciting to report that both the supply chain appetite and progress at our demonstration plant in Belfast have been excellent. We now have a wonderful showcase for the industry to see first-hand, how we can provide an immediate option for secure, sustainable, alternative magnet rare earths for a fraction of the capital required for new mine and refinery capacity, let alone a substantially reduced technical and deliverability risk profile.

“The demand for recycled and high-quality product from the Belfast magnet recycling demonstration plant signals that we need to bring more capacity to market, and that the latent demand from the supply chain for both the technology offering from Ionic Technologies, plus our unique positioning in Belfast and access to both the EU and UK markets, positions us very well to now convert demand to commercial partnerships for the business.

“We are already fully engaged in discussions with groups now looking at the offering from Ionic Technologies as a viable near-term solution to magnet REO sovereign capacity, and a disruptor to the tight constraints on the existing supply chain,” comments IonicRE MD Tim Harrison.

The substantial progress in Belfast follows IonicRE's execution of a transformational joint venture (JV) for the separation, refining and recycling of rare earths in Brazil, as part of a 50:50 JV with Viridis Mining and Materials. The JV has cemented IonicRE as a first mover on the path to rare earth element production and supply outside of China, with mining and refining operations now straddling Africa, Europe and South America.

“We are now moving rapidly to commercialise rare earth separation, refining and recycling, with planned commercial-scale production likely within just two years, offering investors direct exposure to heavy rare earths market growth.

“The EU has stipulated the need for increased recycling, and with Europe on our doorstep, Ionic Technologies has an enormous opportunity to develop a closed loop system with metal, alloy and magnet manufacturers plus OEMs that provide the necessary security of supply,” says IonicRE chairperson Brett Lynch.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



ESAB showroom image
ESAB South Africa

ESAB South Arica, the leading supplier of high-end welding and cutting products to the Southern African industrial market is based in...

Avlock International
Avlock International

Avlock International is a leading manufacturer and distributor of Specialized Fastening Systems.


Latest Multimedia

sponsored by

Magazine round up | 24 May 2024
Magazine round up | 24 May 2024
24th May 2024

Option 1 (equivalent of R125 a month):

Receive a weekly copy of Creamer Media's Engineering News & Mining Weekly magazine
(print copy for those in South Africa and e-magazine for those outside of South Africa)
Receive daily email newsletters
Access to full search results
Access archive of magazine back copies
Access to Projects in Progress
Access to ONE Research Report of your choice in PDF format

Option 2 (equivalent of R375 a month):

All benefits from Option 1
Access to Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa for ALL Research Reports, in PDF format, on various industrial and mining sectors including Electricity; Water; Energy Transition; Hydrogen; Roads, Rail and Ports; Coal; Gold; Platinum; Battery Metals; etc.

Already a subscriber?

Forgotten your password?







sq:0.179 0.213s - 92pq - 2rq
1: United States
Subscribe Now
2: United States