Molycorp and Hitachi Metals agree to pursue forming JVs to manufacture rare earth alloys and magnets in US
Molycorp, Inc. and Japan-based Hitachi Metals, Ltd. have entered into an agreement regarding the planned formation of joint ventures for the production of rare earth alloys and magnets in the US. The ventures would be focused on the manufacture of neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) alloys and magnets that are critical to many clean energy, automotive, computer, health care, communications and other technologies.
The parties are expected to sign definitive agreements, which are subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, for the alloy joint venture by early April 2011. Signing of definitive agreements, subject to the satisfactory conclusion of the feasibility study and other conditions, for the joint venture to produce rare earth magnets would follow later in 2011.
Colorado-based Molycorp, Inc. is the only rare earth oxide (REO) producer in the Western Hemisphere and currently produces approximately 3,000 metric tons of commercial rare earth materials per year. Following the execution of Molycorp’s “mine-to-magnets” strategy and the expected completion of its modernization and expansion efforts at its Mountain Pass, California processing facility by the end of 2012, Molycorp expects to produce at a rate of approximately 20,000 metric tons of REO equivalent per year and intends to offer a range of rare earth products, including high-purity oxides, metals, alloys, and permanent magnets.