Metals deal lands in North West as key alternative to China dominance

LCM at Ellesmere Port

An Ellesmere Port-based metals company has signed a supply agreement with market listed Rainbow Rare Earth, as part of a strategy to open up Western supply chain for minerals as an alternative to Chinese control of the market.

Privately owned LCM is the only rare earth metal and alloy manufacturing facility in the UK and one of the only facilities in the Western world.

The agreement will develop a “responsible” Western supply chain for rare earth elements meaning minerals mined by Rainbow in Africa will supply LCM with critical minerals such as neodymium and praseodymium (“NdPr”), dysprosium (“Dy”) and terbium (“Tb”), which are used to make the permanent magnets in electric vehicles and wind turbines, as well as to defence and other high-tech products.

In a joint statement to the Stock Market this morning the partnership the companies said: “These elements are also designated as ‘critical minerals’ in the UK’s Critical Minerals Strategy as they are defined as having a high criticality for the UK, according to the economic vulnerability and supply risk criteria used for the assessment.”

“Its location is of strategic importance to Rainbow as the Company’s aim is to play a part in the establishment of a Western supply chain for critical rare earth elements outside of Chinese control.”

LCM is also in discussions to invest in expanded capacity in North America, the EU and Asia.

Albert Slot, Managing Director of LCM, commented: “LCM occupies a unique position in the rare earth pipeline as it is the only company in the Western world commercially producing both the highly specialised strip-cast alloys and all of the required rare earth metals needed for the production of the highest-performance neodymium iron boron magnets. Furthermore, LCM’s expertise in the commercial production of neodymium metal and neodymium praseodymium alloy is unique in the Western world.”