€15 million investment in two new sites to diversify supply
Demand for such elements is extremely high because of a complex mix of political, economic and technological pressures. In recent years, instability resulting from international disputes involving China, which supplies 96% of rare earth elements to the global market, has prompted companies to look more closely at their supply chains.
The sites will recover a range of elements – lanthanum, cerium, terbium, yttrium, europium and gadolinium – from low-energy light bulbs, batteries and magnets in a bid to diversify the supply chain.
The move follows two years of R&D activity at Solvay, started in 2007, followed by a further two years of scale-up and site selection studies.