Tuesday, April 17th, Honda Motor declared it will initiate the first mass-production process to extract rare earth metals from used car parts and recycle them.
Honda has formed a partnership with Japan Metals & Chemicals Co to begin extracting the rare earth metals, beginning this month, from nickel-metal hydride batteries taken from used hybrid vehicles at its dealers around the world.
The decision comes at the right moment taking into consideration the fact that China produces about 95% of global rare earth supplies and has ratcheted up export controls, making prices go crazy. Honda declared that the new developed process enables the extraction of more than 80% of rare earth metals from nickel-metal hydride batteries. The company also plans to expand the process to other parts, sending the extracted metals back to its products.
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. Other automakers, especially the Japanese, with the help of government subsidies, are trying to reduce rare earth usage or even replace the metals.