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MP Materials wins DoD contract for heavy rare earth element facility

Rare earth materials mining and processing company MP Materials has been awarded a $35-million contract through the US Department of Defense (DoD) Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment Program to fund the building of a heavy rare earth element (HREE) processing facility at its Mountain Pass site in California. The commercial-scale facility will process HREEs for use in the permanent magnets of EVs.

The company says Mountain Pass is “North America’s only active and scaled rare earth production site,” and includes a dry tailings process that recycles more than one billion liters of water per year. In December of 2020, the DoD awarded the company a $9.6-million contract to restore light rare earth element (LREE) processing capabilities at the site. The new HREE processing facility, the company says, will enable it to recycle all recoverable rare earths from magnet production scrap and old magnets.

The company plans to manufacture alloys and magnets from Mountain Pass materials at a facility it is developing in Fort Worth, Texas. In December of 2021, it signed a long-term agreement with GM to supply US-sourced and manufactured rare earth materials, alloys and magnets for the GMC HUMMER EV, Cadillac LYRIQ, Chevrolet Silverado EV and additional models using GM’s Ultium platform.

Source: MP Materials

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