Ionic Rare Earths kicks off full-scale magnet REO production

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) has begun the continuous production of high-purity, recycled magnet rare earth oxides (REOs) at scale at Ionic Technologies’ Belfast demonstration facility in the United Kingdom. 

The company is now a producer of a suite of magnet REOs, including neodymium oxide, didymium oxide, dysprosium oxide, and terbium oxide, with 11.5kg of 99.8%-grade didymium oxide produced to date. 

Ionic, which has a market capitalisation of $84.48 million, says the Belfast facility is expected to receive a steady supply of magnets to be recycled from sources, such as swarf, from existing manufacturers of metals alloys and magnets, plus end-of-life turbines from grid-scale wind farms, and magnets and components from used electric vehicles and other industries. 

Managing Director Tim Harrison says the Belfast facility is key to harnessing technology to accelerate mining, refining, and recycling of magnets and heavy rare earths. 

“Our supply chain partners have expressed significant interest in procuring REOs from secondary sources, and with this milestone, we are confident in delivering a full schedule of magnet recycling campaigns through to mid-2025.”

The company aims to progress towards commercial agreements to roll the technology out to western end users. 

“Demand for material of recycled origin is accelerating to align with global policy priorities and off-take objectives in order to enter these markets. This is being driven by global policy such as the European Union Critical Raw Materials Act and the US Inflation Reduction Act,” Harrison says.

“IonicRE aims to progress the technology with the deployment of modular recycling initiatives in western markets looking to develop domestic, secure, and sustainable supply chains to address strategic supply and sovereign securing, placing IonicRE at the epicentre of rare earth element recycling.”

The continuous demonstration plant will also support the completion of a Feasibility Study for a commercial-scale facility, which is expected to be delivered by mid-2024. 

Ionic Technologies is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ionic Rare Earths, and is based in Belfast, UK. The subsidiary is developing rare earths separation and refining technology and applied thai to the recycling of spent permanent neodymium-iron-boron magnets. 

Ionic Rare Earths is focused on sustainably sourcing magnet and heavy rare earth oxides to drive industries that require critical rare earths to create a net-zero carbon environment. 

As of 31 December 2023, the company had $4.538 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.  

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Images: Ionic Rare Earths
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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.