Rare Earth Recovery From NdfeB Magnet Scrap

Morrison, Jane
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 1
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1990
Permanent magnets are used in most electromechanical and electronic devices to convert electrical to mechanical energy and vice versa. More than fifty are commonly found in the average American home and car. A new species of permanent magnet composed of iron, neodymium, and boron has recently been developed which combines superior magnetic properties with compact size. The reduced size of the magnets has enabled significant new developments in such areas as robotics and consumer electronic, among others. The objective of the present work is to efficiently and economically separate valuable rare earth materials from the relatively worthless iron constituent in NdFeB magnet scrap. Several magnet producers have expressed interest in the development of such a process and have provided information and scrap samples to aid in research. Scrap is generated in a variety of forms from different stages in the processing stream. Pieces of magnetic and non-magnetic metal as well as sludge and ribbon from jet casting must all be treated. Beneficiation techniques have been studied and size distributions developed for the different scrap types. Slag from the casting process is resistant to crushing and may need to be embrittled first, but all other types are amenable to crushing and ball mill grinding using stainless steel balls and water. Tabling was found to be useful in classification of magnet sludge. Two major techniques for separation of rare earths have been studied:
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