Magnets in the News: Further Steps Toward Domestically Sourcing Rare Earth Magnets

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In December 2021, automaker General Motors announced “strategic collaborations” that will support its move toward domestic sourcing of the rare earth magnet materials necessary for production in its upcoming fleet of electric vehicles.

The announcement is another in a growing number of strategic moves by U.S. companies and the federal government to attempt to compete with China, who maintains a stranglehold on the international rare earth metals market.

Soliders reviewing a drone

New EV Supply Chain Deals

According to The Detroit Bureau, GM will collaborate with California-based MP Materials, the U.S.’ only domestic rare earth mining operation, as well as German-based Vacuumschmelze, which manufactures advanced magnet materials. GM intends to release 30 new all-electric vehicles by 2025, a goal which will require a stable and sustainable supply chain of rare earth metals.

Additionally, GM is moving forward with a partnership deal with General Electric’s GE Renewables, its clean-energy arm to improve supplies of raw and recycled materials.

China’s Giant Rare Earth Magnets Merger

Meanwhile, according to MetalMiner news, China continues to strengthen its grip on rare earth metals, recently consolidating three domestic metals companies. China hopes with the merger to solidify itself as a “rare earths giant.”

More U.S. Rare Earth Magnet Recycling Efforts

American companies are not, however, idly sitting by while China continues its dominance. U.S. companies continue to seek growth and innovation in the domestic market. Indianapolis-based HG Ventures has announced a strategic partnership with American Rare Earth LLC.  Establishing a new purification center in 2022, the partnership will ramp up domestic recycling of magnets, batteries and e-waste in order to recover and supply critical and rare earth metals to the industry. The partnership aims to provide low-cost, domestically sourced, purified, and sustainable battery & magnet metals domestically and worldwide.

Legislating Domestic Supplies?

Perhaps the U.S. efforts to source rare earth materials domestically will receive a boost from a recent bipartisan Senate bill. According to a Reuters exclusive, a new U.S. Senate bill, the Restoring Essential Energy and Security Holdings Onshore for Rare Earths Act of 2022 (RESHORE) would encourage domestic output of rare earth materials and allow the federal government to stockpile resources domestically. The bill aims to extract the nation from under China’s thumb regarding rare earth supplies and would require defense contractors to use domestic sources in the production of fighter jets and defense weapons.

Until the U.S. increases its ability to effectively source, produce and recycle permanent magnet materials, China’s dominance of the industry will continue to influence prices and potentially hamper the development of electric vehicles and many other vital and emerging technologies.

Dura Magnetics continues to monitor the state of the magnetics industry. Keep in touch with us to stay up to speed on international developments, and count on Dura as your expert domestic supplier of stock magnets, custom magnets, and magnet assemblies.


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