Ionic Rare Earths partners with Ford, LCM and BGS to create UK rare earth supply chain

Rare earth element dysprosium highlighted on the periodic table.
Rare earth element dysprosium highlighted on the periodic table.

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) has partnered with Ford Technologies, Less Common Metals (LCM) and British Geological Survey (BGS) to create a UK rare earth supply chain.

Ionic Technologies International, Ionic’s UK-based subsidiary, will develop a UK supply chain for recycled magnet rare earths to magnets and will complete a feasibility study and supply chain analysis for a UK magnet recycling facility.

The UK Government will support the partnership via a $1.95m (£1m) project with Ionic Technologies announced as the major beneficiary and lead collaborator. The UK Government is also supporting an additional $1.95m (£1m) project funding a feasibility study into the construction and the supply of the recycling plant.

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

Ionic Rare Earths managing director Tim Harrison commented on the partnership.

“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,” he said.

“CLIMATES funding that Ionic Technologies has been awarded by Innovate UK demonstrated IonicRE’s strategy to create a collaborative, western supply chain for rare earths with Ford Technologies and Less Common Metals in the UK and European Union.

“The other CLIMATES grant would see Ionic Technologies develop the business case and potential scale up of a commercial magnet recycling facility in Belfast, in partnership with British Geological Survey.”

To support production at the facility, there will be a requirement for over 600tpa of magnet raw material.

Ford will test and analyse the performance of the magnets while Ionic Technologies will recycle the material.

Ionic Technologies general manager Thomas Kelly said the funding adds significant value to the company.

“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,” he said.

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