Local MP for Ellesmere Port, Justin Madders, has praised an SME manufacturing company for its hard work and dedication to the rare earth permanent magnet industry, after securing further support from the UK Government.
Mr. Madders recently met with Ian Higgins, Director of Less Common Metals for a tour of the factory on North Road, Ellesmere Port, and to learn about the critical rare earth element – neodymium iron boron.
Less Common Metals (LCM) specialises in products based on rare earth elements which are fundamental for future technologies such as electric vehicles and wind turbines. LCM has been awarded funding on two occasions from the UK Government to carry out feasibility studies on rare earth supply chains and to consider the requirements of a magnet plant in the UK.
Rare earth-based permanent magnets are the most powerful magnets commercially available and find use in many key applications such as electric vehicles, wind power, low energy pumps and chemical couplings. The rare earths required for such magnets are critical materials and the current overdependence on China for supply gives huge strategic vulnerabilities, hence why it would be strategically beneficial to have a magnet plant in the UK.
Justin Madders said: “I found the meeting very interesting, and it certainly raises some serious questions about the risks we face by having so much critical infrastructure in the hands of one country.
“We definitely need a strategy to avoid being beholden to one country for such an important set of products.”
The funding has been guided through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) as part of the Automotive Transformation Fund.