By Kari Williamson

The JV will manufacture sintered NdFeB permanent rare earth magnets with technology licensed from Intermetallics Inc – a partnership between Mitsubishi, Daido, and Dr. Masato Sagawa, co-inventor of the NdFeB magnet.

The plan is to construct an initial 500 tonnes-per-year magnet manufacturing facility in Nakatsugawa, Japan, with operations expected to commence by January 2013.

The companies expect to begin work on the new facility next month and eventually expand operations in the US and elsewhere.

The rare earth magnets will be produced using less dysprosium, at the same time as the process is said to result in higher production yields.

NdFeB rare earth magnets are used in applications such as high-performance motors in power trains of electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles and wind power generators, as well as in motors in home appliance and industrial applications. The JV will target the automotive and home appliance markets.

The capital contribution ratio of the newly formed company will be 30.0% by Molycorp, 35.5% by Daido, and 34.5% by Mitsubishi. The JV will be financed by the three shareholders and by a government subsidy sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI).