Neodymium magnets are the strongest type of permanent-magnet made, manufactured from an alloy of neodymium, iron and boron. They are used for the production of energy-efficient drive applications and wind turbine generators.
The partnership will secure a supply chain from mine to magnet to end application, with Siemens taking the larger 55% share. Lynas is in the process of completing a neodymium plant in Malaysia.
The chief executive of Siemens' drive technologies division, Ralf-Michael Franke, said: "This planned joint venture has strategic importance for us to secure a long-term and stable supply with high-performance magnets." Lynas added that a stable and secure supply chain would enable the rare-earth magnets market to grow to its full potential.
Meanwhile, large deposits of rare-earth minerals crucial for making high-tech energy products have been found on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, Japanese scientists said on Monday. This could potentially end China's monopoly in mined neodymium – it has 97% of the world's known reserves.