MP Materials has begun construction of its previously announced rare earth metal, alloy, and magnet manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, Texas, marking a significant return of magnet manufacturing operations in North America. The facility is a substantial component of a $700 million investment the company will make over the next two years to fully restore the U.S. rare earth magnetics supply chain, it says.
Simultaneously, MP and General Motors have co-announced a definitive supply agreement to produce alloy and magnets for GM’s electric vehicle programs, solidifying the terms of an agreement they jointly announced in December. The deal calls for MP to supply U.S.-sourced and manufactured rare earth materials, alloy, and finished magnets for the electric motors in more than a dozen models using GM’s Ultium Platform, with a gradual production ramp that is expected to begin in late 2023, starting with alloy.
The Fort Worth facility will have the capacity to produce approximately 1,000 tons of neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets per year, supporting the production of approximately 500,000 EV traction motors, with room to scale.
In February, the Department of Defense awarded MP $35 million to refine and separate heavy rare earth elements at the company’s mine at Mountain Pass, California. Plans call for the new factory in Texas to source refined feedstock from Mountain Pass and transform it into finished products, delivering an end-to-end supply chain, including mining and refining, metal, alloy, and magnet manufacturing, and recycling. Mountain Pass is a closed loop, zero-discharge facility with a dry tailings process that recycles more than 1.7 billion liters of water per year. To optimize for efficiency and sustainability, byproduct generated from alloy and magnet manufacturing will be recycled in a closed loop to every extent possible, says the company.