Honda would like those rare earth metals back

In another attempt to reduce its dependence on China’s stranglehold on rare earth element supply, Honda announced that its dealers will start to recycle old cars to extract the rare earth metals from the nickel-metal hydride batteries.

The initiative is a joint venture with Honda Motor Co. (NYSE:HMC) and the Japan Metals & Chemicals Co. The two companies are setting up a processing plant in Japan, a country that learned the dangers in relying too much on any one commodity after the 1973 oil crisis.

The processing plant will be the first of its kind and can achieve extraction rates as high as 80%.

“Honda will strive to reuse extracted rare earth metals not only for nickel-metal hydride batteries, but also to a wide range of Honda products,” writes the company in a news release.

“Moreover, Honda will further expand the recycling of rare earth metals in the future as the newly established process enables the extraction of rare earth metals from a variety of used parts in addition to nickel-metal hydride batteries.”

Earlier this year Toyota and other manufacturers announced they were developing products that used rare earth substitutes.

Full news release.

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