Mkango to Acquire HyProMag, Aims for Magnet Recycling Plants in UK, Germany and USA 

Planning to extract rare earths from the heart of Africa, Canadian minerals company Mkango Resources is also acquiring British magnet recycling startup HyProMag 

Mkango Resources is paying up with the help of a new partner to acquire full control of pioneering British magnet recycler HyProMag. The companies plan to build a plant in the U.S. next, rolling out further HyProMag’s technology for processing of magnet scrap using hydrogen, developed at the University of Birmingham. First production using the process is targeted for the UK this year, Germany in 2024 and the U.S. to follow as the Vancouver-based minerals company continues to pursue development of its Songwe Hill rare earths property in Africa. 

The acquisition came in May when Mkango, through its subsidiary Maginito, and its new partner CoTec Holdings increased Maginito’s ownership of HyProMag from 42% to 100% while announcing their intention to roll out the recycling process to the U.S. The deal was valued at about £5 million in a combination of cash, stock and future performance rewards. CoTec, also Canadian, is a Vancouver-based holding company focused on commodity assets with green attributes. 

HyProMag is establishing short loop recycling facilities for NdFeB magnets at Tyseley Energy Park in Birmingham and the other locations using the patented process. The plant at Tyseley Energy Park is being developed together with the University of Birmingham, with a minimum capacity of 100tpa NdFeB. The £4.3 million project is being funded by Driving the Electric Revolution, an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund challenge delivered by UK Research and Innovation. First production is targeted for late 2023, which follows successful piloting at the university in 2022. Further information is available in a previous article in Magnetics Magazine. 

“Since acquiring our initial interest in HyProMag in 2020, we have seen the company go from strength to strength, de-risking and further scaling-up the patented HPMS rare earth magnet recycling technology, building the team and developing further industry partnerships, all against the backdrop of growing interest in recycling and sustainable rare earth supply chains,” said William Dawes, CEO of Mkango.” We look forward to working closely with the HyProMag team as we continue to support the growth of the business.” 

“Building on the legacy of innovation in rare earth permanent magnets and hydrogen technologies pioneered by the late Prof. Rex Harris at the University of Birmingham, we founded HyProMag in 2018 with Rex as a founding shareholder, added David Kennedy, director of HyProMag. “Our aim was to accelerate the commercialisation of the HPMS (Hydrogen Processing of Magnet Scrap) process, and our collaboration with Mkango has supported the company’s growth and enabled the participation in major collaborative projects on rare earth magnet recycling. We look forward to the next phase of growth at Tyseley Energy Park, scaling up the technology and showcasing rejuvenation of Birmingham’s industrial heritage, in parallel with the international roll-out.” 

Meanwhile, Mkango reports continued progress in developing its flagship Songwe Hill rare earths project in Malawi with a Definitive Feasibility Study completed in July 2022 and an Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment approved by the Government of Malawi in January 2023. 

In a related development, Mkango and Grupa Azoty PULAWY, Poland’s leading chemical company and the second largest manufacturer of nitrogen and compound fertilizers in the European Union, have agreed to work together towards development of a rare earth separation plant at Pulawy in Poland to process the purified mixed rare earth carbonate produced at Songwe Hill.

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