The Birmingham Centre for Strategic Elements and Critical Materials (BCSECM) at the University of Birmingham are partnering with Canadian specialists CoTec to identify and commercialise disruptive technologies related to the critical mineral extraction industry.
The partnership will focus on potential opportunities to bring the University’s low carbon, disruptive technologies in the mineral extraction industry to market.
After signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the University will contribute research knowledge in the field, while CoTec will provide extensive industry experience, networks, and access to potential operating assets.
The agreement to collaborate with CoTec provides an exciting opportunity to work with an extremely experienced industrial team in critical minerals. The guidance provided by CoTec will be an important part of our technology development plans. BCSECM has a track record of taking clean technologies to market, and this agreement significantly enhances the centres capability to develop processes at higher technology readiness level, leading to real world impact.Professor Allan Walton - Head of the University of Birmingham Magnetic Materials Group
This agreement complements CoTec’s existing relationship with the University of Birmingham through its rare earth investments in Mkango Resources Ltd (“Mkango”) and Maginito Limited (“Maginito”). Maginito, which is currently owned by Mkango and CoTec on a 90%/10% basis. Maginito owns HyProMag Limited
The agreement builds on CoTec’s existing relationship with the University through its investments in Mkango Resources Ltd (‘Mkango’) and Maginito Limited (‘Maginito’). Maginito, currently co-owned by Mkango and CoTec, which owns pioneering rare earth recycling company HyProMag Limited.
HyProMag’s recycling technology was originally developed by materials scientists at the University and is based upon the patented process - Hydrogen Processing of Magnet Scrap (HPMS) – allowing extraction of rare earth magnets from scrap and redundant equipment.
Rare earth magnets play a key role in clean energy technologies including electric vehicles and wind turbine generators. They are also a key component in electronic devices including mobile phones, hard disk drives and loudspeakers.
Professor Allan Walton, Head of the University of Birmingham’s Magnetic Materials Group and co-founder of HyProMag commented: “The agreement to collaborate with CoTec provides an exciting opportunity to work with an extremely experienced industrial team in critical minerals.
“The guidance provided by CoTec will be an important part of our technology development plans. BCSECM has a track record of taking clean technologies to market, and this agreement significantly enhances the centres capability to develop processes at higher technology readiness level, leading to real world impact.”
A pilot plant for HPMS recycling opened at the University of Birmingham last year, and work is now underway to build a large scale ‘short loop’ recycling facility at Tyseley Energy Park, in Birmingham.
Mr. Julian Treger, CEO of the CoTec commented, “We are very excited about the opportunity to work with the University of Birmingham and support its research programs which collaborate with the UK’s leading researchers, businesses, policy makers and other stakeholders. We are optimistic that this relationship will develop into a long-term platform to roll out applicable, low cost, low carbon, scalable technologies which we believe will be successful in supplying critical minerals into the industry.
“One of CoTec’s core strategies is to partner with technology developers to assist them in commercialising new and environmentally friendly ways of supplying the world with the materials it needs for the energy transition. The University of Birmingham is one of the UK’s leading research and development institutions, and this relationship, along with our existing investment in Maginito, demonstrates CoTec’s commitment to this strategy.”