Discover the US’s attempt to produce rare earth magnets locally and the challenges faced due to China’s dominating influence.
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Hey there, reader!
Today, We are diving into something that might initially sound geeky – rare earth magnets and why they are making headlines.
What is the Big Deal with These Magnets?
Let us start with the basics.
Rare earth permanent magnets are important because they are used in electric cars, wind turbines, and smartphones.
Imagine not having any of those!
The US mostly gets these magnets from China, like depending on a neighbor for dairy milk.
Sometimes, having your own cow is better, especially if the milk is super important.
Moreover, that is what the US is trying to do.
The Pentagon Makes a Move
Here is some recent buzz.
The US military department, the Pentagon, is giving E-VAC Magnetics a whopping $94.1 million to build a big magnet-making factory in the US.
Jack Lifton, a big shot at the Critical Minerals Institute, says this is a HUGE deal.
Because it has been about 25 years since the US had a major magnet factory of its own.
But there is a Twist
Here comes the plot twist. E-VAC‘s parent company, Vacuumschmelze, has a strong connection with China.
It is like wanting to bake your cake but realizing that most of your ingredients still come from the neighbor’s kitchen.
One in four people working for Vacuumschmelze is based in China, and they even have some production facilities there!
The Money Problem
Making these magnets is a costly undertaking, especially when competing with China.
Vacuumschmelze has faced financial struggles in the past.
They have got some cost advantages.
For example, they can make magnet-producing machines cheaper than we can in the West.
So, while it is a big step for the US to build its magnet factory, there are still some challenges ahead.
Navigating the world of rare earth magnets takes work, especially with China’s strong presence everywhere.