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  • Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) selects WSP Global to manage a feasibility study looking at its magnet recycling plans
  • The company wants to build a facility in Belfast, UK
  • Many REEs are permanently magnetic; by recycling those metals, countries can partially secure supply chains domestically
  • WSP Global is a leading player in the global chemicals and engineering industry
  • Shares last traded at 2.1 cents

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) has selected global engineering services firm WSP Global to manage a key feasibility study.

WSP is tasked with assessing the overall technical case for a rare-earths-focused magnet recycling facility in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Notably, the feasibility study will be supported by government funding.

Why is the government backing it?

That funding will come via a key critical mineral supply chain innovation program spearheaded by the UK government and the British Geological Survey (BGS).

It’s funding no less than £1 million (A$1.92 million).

The UK government’s interest is fairly clear: as tensions with China, in particular, grow from within the US, the global pool of rare earths is looking shaky.

All in all, China is the dominant rare earth miner and supplier to the entire world, holding market share of anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent, depending on what you’re looking at.

And as economic trade wars become a household discussion topic, Western governments in particular are now keen to do everything they can to lock in domestic supply.

Being able to recycle spent rare earths from e-waste and other sources, then use them again, answers part of this problem. On paper, anyway.

What kind of magnets?

Ionic is specifically looking at pathways towards recycling spent permanent neodymium-iron-boron magnets.

These sorts of magnets are used in smartphones and hard drives, video and audio hardware, and a wide range of other goods.

“The feasibility study forms the most significant single output of the … project that Ionic Technologies will complete in partnership with the British Geological Survey (BGS),” the company wrote today.

Company chief Tim Harrison says shareholders will know how much the facility could cost by H2 2024.

“We will be working in partnership with WSP on the feasibility study, using our patented processes and knowledge gained through operation of our demonstration plant and we expect to have a costed solution by mid-2024,” he said.

IXR shares last traded at 2.1 cents.

IXR by the numbers
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