Mitsubishi Materials and Honda Motor are partnering on a new business to recover rare-earth magnets from the electric motors in hybrid cars.
Mitsubishi Materials, which already operates five recycling centers to recover materials from consumer electronics, including rare-earth magnets, will develop equipment for extracting drive motors and then removing the magnets.
It will then begin testing the procedures on hybrid cars collected by Honda Trading Corp.
Mitsubishi said that in 2020, the number of junked hybrid cars is expected to reach 400,000 units in Japan. That could yield some 240 tons of magnets, containing 24 tons of dysprosium—around 4% of Japan’s current annual demand, according to the Nikkei.