Birmingham to become “UK’s first” centre for rare earth magnet recycling


University of Birmingham

Deal agreed to form the basis for the “UK’s first” full-scale remanufacturing facility for rare earth magnets at Birmingham’s Tyseley Energy Park, which is set to be developed later this year.

Rare earth recycling company HyProMag, which was formed by researchers from the University of Birmingham’s (UoB) School of Metallurgy and Materials, is to be acquired by Maginito Ltd, in a deal that aims to further scale-up and internationally roll-out technology first piloted at the UoB.

HyProMag’s core technology is based upon the patented process – Hydrogen Processing of Magnet Scrap (HPMS), which was originally developed within the University’s Magnetic Materials Group (MMG) to extract rare earth magnets from scrap and redundant equipment and subsequently licensed to HyProMag.

A pilot plant for HPMS recycling opened at the UoB last year, and work is now underway to build a large-scale “short loop” recycling facility at Tyseley and other locations to provide a “sustainable solution” for the supply of NdFeB magnets, the most widely used type of rare-earth magnet, and alloys for a wide range of markets including automotive and electronics. 

The acquisition of HyProMag is the ultimate validation of the value they have identified in HyProMag’s unique capabilities.

First production is expected in the UK in 2023 and in Germany in 2024, the UoB says.

The Tyseley plant is being developed with the UoB, which says the plant is expected to have a minimum production capacity of 100 tonnes a year. The £4.3 million project is being funded by Driving the Electric Revolution, an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Dr Jerel Whittingham, Head of Enterprise Acceleration at the University of Birmingham Enterprise, commented: “The strategic, economic and environmental importance of recycling rare earth metals is now widely recognised and it has been pleasing to note the continuing growth of HyProMag’s partnership with Mkango since the company was established in 2018, using IP developed at the University of Birmingham.

“The acquisition of HyProMag, including its facility at Tyseley Energy Park, is the ultimate validation of the value they have identified in HyProMag’s unique capabilities.”

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