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Rare Earths: LCM Slows Its Growth in the United Kingdom Post-Brexit.

Rare Earths: LCM Slows UK Growth Post-Brexit, Focuses on Expansion in the US and Europe

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The sole British rare earth producer, Less Common Metals (LCM), has announced a slowdown in its UK operations due to Brexit-related export challenges to mainland Europe. LCM's CEO, Albert Slot, revealed the company's strategic shift towards expanding in the US and Europe, citing significant grants from US President Joe Biden for critical mineral supply development as a motivating factor.


"We are essentially looking to expand in Europe just as we are in the US," said Slot in an interview. "Brexit, as executed by the UK, has not been very helpful to LCM's industry, necessitating our presence in Europe." He added that proximity to magnet manufacturers for new technologies was crucial, hence the discussions about US and EU expansion.


LCM is one of only two companies outside China capable of producing rare earth metals and alloys. Alloys are a critical step between rare earth extraction, separation, and their use in permanent magnets for electric vehicle motors, drones, and wind turbines.

In 2021, LCM received UK government funding to explore the feasibility of establishing a rare earth permanent magnet supply chain in the UK. However, Brexit posed a major hurdle for the company in this regard. To further expand in the UK, LCM would need more "offtake agreements" from domestic customers. So far, no UK magnet manufacturers have been willing to sign contracts to purchase LCM's rare earth alloys.


A deal announced on Monday would provide LCM with a supply of separated rare earths from Rainbow Rare Earths' Phalaborwa project in South Africa for its international expansion.

In a separate announcement on Tuesday, Belfast-based company Ionic Technologies revealed a new partnership with automaker Ford and LCM, aiming to establish a rare earth magnet recycling supply chain in the UK. It is supported by a £2 million government grant.

The recycled rare earths will be used in Ford's transmission plant in Halewood, Merseyside. The plant will produce the majority of engines for the US automaker's European market production.


Brexit has adversely affected the UK rare earth industry, and LCM is not the only company facing export hurdles to mainland Europe.

Despite these challenges, investment in the rare earth sector remains an intriguing prospect. Elio Strategy, specializing in rare earth investment, can play a crucial role in assisting investors in capitalizing on this vital industry, including adapting to geopolitical shifts and international expansion opportunities. Rare earths continue to play a pivotal role in emerging technologies, making it a sector worth closely monitoring for investors. Request your brochure at www.eliostrategy.com/brochure.

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