Ontario company pilots magnet recycling

Metals recycling company Cyclic Materials has succeeded in extracting magnetic materials from end-of-life products.

From left to right: Cyclic Materials’ Business Advisor Kunal Phalpher, CEO Ahmad Ghahreman, VP of Engineering & Technology Alex Forstner, and Board of Directors member Rik Wehbring. (Photo: Business Wire)

The company’s new Kingston, Ontario, pilot plant, uses its proprietary Mag-Xtract technology to isolate the magnets. The design capacity of the plant is 1,000 kg/hour (8,000 tonnes per year), and initial runs have processed several tonnes of magnet feedstock per day.

In 2022, Cyclic Materials completed an initial proof-of-concept of Mag-Xtract, processing 4,000 kg of magnet-containing products – including copper, aluminum and steel – from end-of-life products. These materials are critical to the development of electric vehicles, wind turbines, smartphones and other technologies.

Traction Electric Motors (TELMO) of electric vehicles recycled by Cyclic Materials. (Photo: Business Wire)

Cyclic Materials is also scaling its proprietary hydrometallurgy technology to convert magnet feedstock and manufacturing waste into mixed rare earth oxide, cobalt-nickel hydroxide, and other by-products. Last fall, Cyclic Materials piloted its hydrometallurgy technology at a capacity of 10 tonnes/year.

It is currently developing the first commercial demonstration plant for this technology in Kingston, with a target launch date in the second quarter of 2024.

“The launch of our pilot plant is a major step forward for developing a domestic, circular supply chain for critical materials at the scale needed to support the clean energy transition and technological innovation,” said Ahmad Ghahreman, co-founder and CEO of Cyclic Materials.

“Our magnet-agnostic recycling technology produces one of the cleanest and highest quality mixed rare earth oxide products available on the global market—an environmentally sustainable, first-of-its-kind solution to the limited international supply of critical magnet materials.”

Cyclic Materials investors include BMW iVentures, Energy Impact Partners, Planetary Capital, Fifth Wall and Bio-industrial Innovation Canada. It has raised over US$30 million in funding to develop its advanced metals recycling processes. The company also received a $3.6M grant from Sustainable Technology Development Canada (SDTC).