Canada-based Mkango Resources has entered into a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with UK-based Metalysis jointly to research, develop and commercialize novel rare earth metal alloys for use in three-dimensional (3D) printed permanent magnets.
One such opportunity includes evaluating the United Kingdom as a future host country for a manufacturing plant to exploit a commercialized technology.
Rare earth permanent magnets are a critical component of many electric vehicles, as well as other consumer and green technologies. China dominates the rare earth permanent magnet industry, and with one of the few rare earths projects outside China to have advanced beyond the pre-feasibility stage, Mkango believes it is well-placed to respond to the global demand outlook.
Mkango’s share of the first phase of R&D costs will be funded out of existing cash resources.
Metalysis has a patented process for producing titanium, tantalum, other metals and innovative alloy powders. The process, originating from the University of Cambridge and proven at industrial scale, can generate high margins from the manufacture of metal powders for markets including 3D printing, the company says.
Mkango’s primary business is the exploration for rare earth elements and associated minerals in the Republic of Malawi. Mkango holds, through its wholly owned subsidiary Lancaster Exploration Limited, a 100% interest in two exclusive prospecting licenses in southern Malawi, the Phalombe licence and the Thambani licence.
The main exploration target in the Phalombe licence is the Songwe Hill rare earths deposit, which features carbonatite-hosted rare earth mineralization and was subject to previous exploration in the late 1980s. Mkango completed an updated Pre-feasibility Study for the project in November 2015. Mkango’s strategy for Songwe is to further optimise the project with a view to maximizing efficiency and reducing costs. The main exploration targets in the Thambani licence are uranium, niobium, tantalum and other associated minerals.