Estonia: New Magnet Factory

International company Neo Performance Materials (NPM), which owns Estonia-based rear earth metals maker Silmet, intends to construct a magnet factory and R&D center in Narva. According to the Estonian Investment Agency, the company is set to invest 81.25 million Euro, and Estonia will add 18.75 million Euro through the Just Transition Fund. “The facility is believed to transform the region’s economy, providing jobs and paving the way to a clean energy transition.”

The Canada-based investor expects the construction launch of the planned magnet facility in Ida Viru County in 2023 and the onset of manufacturing operations in 2025. Once in operation, the European magnet plant is seen as a key component of NPM’s rapidly advancing “Magnets-to-Mine” vertical integration strategy.

The first phase of the planned facility would be designed to produce approximately 2,000 tons/year of sintered rare earth permanent magnet block, NPM announced. The plan is to integrate recycling into its operations to maximize the circular economics of the plant.

The company has been in advanced commercial discussions for several years with multiple magnet customers in Europe. That indicates a level of demand for sintered rare earth magnets that far exceeds the planned phase 1 production capacity. Therefore, the company is considering plans to increase the facility’s capacity to 5,000 tons/year in a phase 2 expansion, depending upon market conditions and other factors.

According to media reports, the plant will also be Estonia’s first climate-proofing project. Inogen Alliance Associate DGE’s Estonian partner Hendrikson was set to provide climate-proofing services. Inogen Alliance is a global network with dozens of independent local businesses and over 5,000 consultants worldwide.

(Published in GLOBAL RECYCLING Magazine 2/2023, Page 17)