US Magnet Business History


China declares rare earth elements a protected and strategic material; all rare earth businesses must be Chinese-owned or Sino-foreign joint ventures


Magnequench acquired from General Motors by the Sextant Group (front company for San Huan New Material and China National Non-Ferrous Metals Import & Export Corporation)


Mountain Pass, CA rare earth separation plant closes


China initiates export quotas on rare earth elements


GA Powders subsidiary of Magnequench transferred to China


Mountain Pass, CA rare earth mine suspends all operations


Vacuumschmelze closes and moves Elizabethtown, KY operations to Germany and Slovakia

Chinese export quotas contract approximately 15% from 2000


Magnequench closes Anderson, IN plant and moves NdFeB assembly line to China


Hitachi Metals closes its Edmore, MI production facility (acquired from General Electric in 1973)and imports from Japanese and Korean production sources

China National Offshore Oil Corporation attempts to purchase Unocal, owner of Molycorp and its rare earth mine


Magnequench closes final NdFeB magnet facility in Valparaiso, IN

U.S. Magnetic Materials Association is formed


Chinese export quotas contract approximately 24% from 2005


China issues duties on dysprosium metal and rare earth ferroalloys

China initiates plans for a rare earth stockpile

Rare earth export quotas contract by approximately 40% from 2009

De facto embargo of Japan initiated after a maritime dispute in the East China Sea


China expands the export quotas to include new materials (e.g. rare earth ferroalloys)

Molycorp acquires Santoku America (Tolleson, AZ) and AS Silmet (Sillamäe, Estonia)

Showa Denko and Hitachi Metals (Japan) announce plans to move some rare earth magnet production to China

Hitachi Metals announces intent to produce sintered NdFeB magnets in the United States, primarily for hybrid and electric vehicle markets by 2013


China issues separate production and export quotas for “light” rare earth and “medium/heavy” rare earth products

USA, Japan, and the European Union file a complaint in the World Trade Organization over Chinese export practices for rare earth elements

Molycorp acquires Neo Material Technologies, Inc.

Showa Denko and TDK (Japan) enter joint venture discussions to manufacture rare earth permanent magnets in China

Japanese government, citing technology security, introduces new regulations on “high performance magnets” to prohibit magnet manufacture in China

China begins filling a national stockpile with dysprosium, terbium, europium, and yttrium oxide

U.S. Congress requires the Department of Defense to create policy to ensure reliable sources of “materials critical to national security,” including rare earth elements (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, Section 901)