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Honda moves rare earth recycling into mass production

Japanese car manufacturer, Honda Motor and the Japan Metals & Chemicals, are to extract rare earth metals from various used parts in Honda products, in a mass-production process at a recycling plant.

According to Honda the facility will be the first of its kind in the world to extract rare earth metals as part of a mass-production process at a recycling plant, and will utilise a newly established process for the recycling of rare earth metals.

The company said that working with Japan Metals & Chemicals, by the end of this month it will begin extracting rare earth metals from used nickel-metal hydride batteries collected by Honda dealers both inside and outside of Japan from the company’s hybrid vehicle batteries.

Honda said that it had been applying a heat treatment to used nickel-metal hydride batteries and recycling nickel-containing scrap as a raw material of stainless steel.

However, the company added that the successful stabilisation of the extraction process at Japan Metals & Chemicals plant has made the extraction of rare earth metals in a mass-production process possible, while maintaining purity as high as that of newly mined and refined metals.

The new process is said to enable the extraction of as much as above 80 per cent of rare earth metals contained in used nickel-metal hydride batteries.

The car company said that it will strive to reuse extracted rare earth metals not only for nickel-metal hydride batteries, but in a wide range of its products.

Furthermore, Honda said that it plans to further expand the recycling of rare earth metals in the future, as the newly established process enables the extraction of rare earth metals from a variety of used parts in addition to nickel-metal hydride batteries.

According to the company it has long been committed to the 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) approach, and it claimed to be the first Japanese automaker to sell recycled parts and to collect/recycle oil filters and replaced bumpers.

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