Honda to recycle expensive rare earth metals from used car parts

Honda and the Japan Metals & Chemicals Co, today jointly announced the establishment of the world’s first mass-production process to extract rare earth metals from used car parts and recycle the expensive materials mainly controlled by China. China produces about 95% of global rare earth supplies and has ratcheted up export controls, sending prices soaring. As part of this effort, before the end of this month, Honda and Japan Metals & Chemicals will begin extracting rare earth metals from used nickel-metal hydride batteries collected from Honda hybrid vehicles at Honda dealers inside and outside of Japan. The new operation will be the first in the world to extract rare earth metals as part of a mass-production process at a recycling plant.

The newly established process enables the extraction of as much as above 80% of rare earth metals contained in used nickel-metal hydride batteries. Honda will strive to reuse extracted rare earth metals not only for nickel-metal hydride batteries, but also to a wide range of Honda products. Japanese automakers and other heavy users are researching ways to reduce rare earth usage or replace the metals, including with the help of government subsidies.

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