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Recycling of Neodymium (NdFeB) magnets

  • Health and safety
  • Land-use planning
  • Permitting processes / policy integration
  • Reporting official statistics
  • Socio-economic and environmental impact assessments

Challenge the practice is addressing: NdFeB magnets need to be separated from hard disc drives and other equipment to enable further processing and several new pre-treatment options have recently been developed by private companies

Concrete practice to achieve the expected goal: The company "Hitachi Metals Ltd." uses molten Mg as an extraction method to recycle Nd (Neodymium) and Dy (Dysprosium) from NdFeB magnets. Santoku Corporation started a recycling route for neodymium and dysprosium from magnets of air conditioner motors and magnet production scrap. Momentum’s hydrometallurgical MSX (membrane solvent extraction) technology process, is able to recycle more than 99 percent of the REE (rare earth elements) content from HDDs (hard disk drives) dissolved in acid and operating at room temperature and pressure. The "Ames Laboratory’s acid-free dissolution recycling technology" has the potential to recycle Nd from shredded HDD samples without obligatory pre-concentration of the magnet contents. The US-based "Urban Mining Company" and EU-based "MagREEsource" claim to produce NdFeB-magnets from waste NdFeB-magnets (MtM processing = methods-time measurement). The EU "ReproMag" and "SusMagPro" projects have been developing the patented "Hydrogen Processing of Magnetic Scrap" (HPMS) as an MtM process. Other alternatives include the reuse of NdFeB-magnets from HDDs in applications other than HDDs, or the reuse of NdFeB-magnets from HDDs in new DDs.

Expected impact/goal of the practice: Industrial scale operations for recyling NdFeB magnets should be available if the financing is provided.

Who is the target user group of the practice/intervention or implementing the practice/intervention? Companies

CEWASTE - project final report, p. 16-17
Data item type
Practice base
Practice type
Report / document
Learning relevance
Guidelines / guidance document
Case study
Metalliferous minerals
Extractive life-cycle
Post-exploitation phase (i.e. rehabilitation)
Sustainability scope
Role and indicators for an inclusive Green Economy
Planning beyond the mine life
Waste management
System change potential
Industrial scale operations for recyling NdFeB magnets