Mar 20, 2017 | By Tess

Canadian mineral exploration and development company Mkango Resources Ltd. has announced a new partnership with British metals company Metalysis Limited. Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), both companies will seek to develop and commercialize rare earth metal alloys, which will be used for manufacturing 3D printed permanent magnets.

Rare earth elements

According to the companies, the 3D permanent magnets they plan to develop will be used to manufacture electric vehicles, as well as other green consumer products and technologies. Rare earth permanent magnets are an important part of many modern-day products, from hard drives and headphones to wind turbines.

As we saw with ORNL’s 3D printed permanent magnets, additive manufacturing allows for the magnets to be made more ecologically (reusing leftover magnetic metal powder), and in a wider variety of forms and structures. 3D printed permanent magnets even have the potential to outperform traditionally manufactured magnets (also evidenced by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory).

Under the recently signed MOU, Mkango and Metalysis will combine their respective expertise on rare earth magnet performance characteristics and solid-state processes for manufacturing high-quality metal powders. Metalysis’ solid-state process is reportedly capable of generating “high margins” from the production of metal powders, which have applications in industrial metal 3D printing, for instance.

The goals of the partnership are to establish a joint research and development program, as well as to open up a number of commercial possibilities, such as considering the United Kingdom as a possible future location for a manufacturing facility “to exploit a commercialized technology.” Currently, China is the dominant player in the rare earth permanent magnet industry, so Mkango is positioning itself to become one of the leading rare earth companies outside of China.

William Dawes, Chief Executive Officer of Mkango, commented on the new partnership, saying: "We are very pleased to collaborate with Metalysis. It is a core part of Mkango's strategy to be at the forefront of research and technology in every step of the rare earths supply chain; positioning the Company as a future low cost, sustainable supplier of rare earths used in electric vehicles and other green technologies, which have entered a new phase of accelerating demand growth. The R&D programme will seek to enhance marketing flexibility, increase future margins and affirm the Company's competitive positioning.”

Mkango, which specializes in the exploration of rare earth elements, notably in Malawi, will contribute its share of R&D costs (for the first phase at least) through cash resources. U.K. based Metalysis Limited was responsible for 3D printing the first automotive parts from titanium metal powders back in 2013.



Posted in 3D Printing Materials



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