Solvay and Carester to form strategic partnership in rare earth permanent magnets value chain

Solvay and Carester signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to form a strategic partnership aimed at leveraging the expertise of both companies to pursue manufacturing opportunities within the rare earth industry for the permanent magnets value chain in Europe.

The collaboration will enable both companies to enhance their respective strengths in the rare earths industry, with Solvay contributing its industrial assets and operational experience, and Carester bringing expertise in recycling end-of-life equipment, upstream market knowledge, and related activities.

Europe’s transition to electrification in the automotive industry, expansion of wind power energy, and acceleration of digitalization necessitate the use of rare earth permanent magnets. With China’s dominance in rare earth refining, Solvay has taken proactive measures since the end of 2022 to establish a rare earths hub for a permanent magnets value chain in La Rochelle, France, aiming to enhance European self-sufficiency.

With its existing strong asset base and decades of expertise in rare earths processing with significant positions in catalysis, electronics and specialties, Solvay’s plans in La Rochelle align with its commitment to meet the growing demands of the fast-growing electric vehicle, wind power, and electronics markets.

Similarly, Carester, while supporting efforts of rare earth mining companies to develop their refining processes, has built the Caremag industrial project. Fully permitted in Lacq, France, this initiative is dedicated to magnet recycling and the extraction of heavy rare earths from mining concentrates, using a unique clean and energy-efficient process.

“By collaborating with established rare earths players outside of China, we’re laying the groundwork for a powerful rare earths hub in Europe and establishing a strong European manufacturing base to supply the critically important magnets industry”, says Philippe Kehren, CEO of Solvay.