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Industry Experts Join Magnet Materials Supply Chain Association To Advance Domestic Rare Earth Issues

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The United States Magnet Materials Association [1] (“USMMA”) today announced that three industry experts – Jack Lifton, Stan Trout, and Tony Morcos – have joined the association as members of its newly-created advisory board.

The USMMA recently expanded its focus to include rare earth materials and the rare earth magnet supply chain by committing to:

The U.S. rare earth supply chain has been decimated by unfair trade practices of foreign competitors. Currently, China dominates the magnet materials industry and has successfully manipulated the rare earth metals market.

Worldwide demand for these materials is escalating rapidly, and over 95% of currently available rare earth mining occurs in China or is controlled by Chinese-led interests. Nevertheless, sizable deposits of the materials exist in the United States and Canada and are available for large scale mining operations.

Chinese rare earth export quotas and taxes have placed U.S. magnet manufacturing at a competitive disadvantage. This has led to an increase in Chinese manufacturing and driven Chinese firms up the value chain. No significant production of rare earth metals takes place today in North America or anywhere outside of China. In addition, experts worry that Chinese domestic demand for rare earth elements could easily equal Chinese production capacity as early as 2012, further limiting material availability in the United States. Additionally, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is calling for a total ban on some rare earth elements in the near future, cutting off the international community’s access to vital materials.

The USMMA argues that the ability to domestically manufacture permanent magnets including rare earth magnets and supporting materials is vital to the nation’s ability to innovate new technologies, create green jobs, and advance next generation national security systems. The USMMA is committed to providing a long-term reliable source of supply to the North American market.

The USMMA was founded in 2006 by magnet manufacturers Thomas & Skinner, Inc. of Indianapolis, Indiana; Hoosier Magnetics of Ogdensburg, New York; and Electron Energy Corporation of Landisville, Pennsylvania, to advocate on behalf of the specialty metals clause found at 10 U.S.C. 2533b. Thorium Energy, Inc., an American natural resources development company based in Salt Lake City and New York City, joined the organization in September.

USMMA members have successfully advocated for inclusion of a congressionally mandated study of the rare earth supply-chain in the FY10 National Defense Authorization Act. More information on the USMMA can be found at http://www.usmagnetmaterials.com [1].