Journals →  Non-ferrous Metals →  2021 →  #1 →  Back

ArticleName Problems and prospects of waste processing and recycling of production containing rare earth metals
DOI 10.17580/nfm.2021.01.03
ArticleAuthor Yushina T. I., Petrov I. M., Chernyi S. A., Petrova A. I.

NUST MISiS College of Mining, Moscow, Russia:

T. I. Yushina, Associate Professor, Head of the Department of Minerals Processing and Technogenic Raw Materials, e-mail:


INFOMINE Research Group LLC, Moscow, Russia:
I. M. Petrov, CEO


Berezniki Branch of the Perm National Research Polytechnic University, Berezniki, Russia:
S. A. Chernyi, Associate Professor, Head of the Department of Technology and Integrated Mechanization


Research Institute of Comprehensive Exploitation of Mineral Resources of RAS (IPKON), Moscow, Russia:
A. I. Petrova, Post-Graduate Student


The demand for rare-earth metals (REMs), which are quite expensive and scarce resources, is constantly growing and there is a shortage of supply for individual metals. All this makes the task of the search for new sources of REMs, including man-caused ones, very important. In solving these problems, a very promising direction is the development of REM recycling schemes, both directly from the wastes of the production of rare metals and other industries, and from the goods that have served their time, or in other words, the so-called end-of-life (EOL) goods. This direction of recycling seems to be the most efficient, reaso ning from the volumes of REMs that pass to wastes in EOL goods, among which REM recycling from NdFeB magnets of electronic devices, fluorescent lamps, nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, and a number of other RE-containing products has become predominant. For example, the degree of REM recovery in the recycling of magnets is 80–95%; such a volume of secondary resources of rare earths is of serious commercial interest. As experts are assessing, the level of recycling of rare earths from fluorescent lamps will be ~95%, and it will be possible to recycle the lamps for another 30 years. When processing nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, up to 80% of REMs contained in them is returned to the commercial circulation. Another important direction of obtaining REMs is the disposal of industrial wastes. Such technologies can be developed in the countries where REM products with high value added are not manufactured, however, there are mineral resources and advanced industry. For example, in Russia, such technologies are used at the Solikamsk Magnesium Works, which produces rare-metal production from loparite concentrate. At the Russian Rare Metals plant, there has been developed a technology for processing grinding wastes from the production of permanent magnets based on rare-earth metals, from which the high-purity compounds of neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium can be obtained. Another technogenic resource for the development of REM recycling technologies in Russia are considerable, over 250 million tons, phosphogypsum wastes from the processing of Khibiny apatite concentrate. The Skaygrad Group has developed a technology that allows to obtain from 500 to 2000 tons of a sum of 17 rare-earth metals per year, with a total mass quota up to 99.5% of REMs. In general, it can be concluded that the technologies of REM recycling from both end-of-life goods and products, and industrial wastes will continue to develop not only in the countries of the Asia-Pacific region or EU, but also in Russia in spite of relatively low content of rare earths in them.

keywords Rare-earth metals, recycling, waste processing, electronic devices, NdFeB magnets, NiMH batteries, grinding wastes, phosphogypsum, REM oxides, end-of-life goods

1. Rare Earth Elements: A Review of Production, Processing, Recycling, and Associated Environmental Issues. EPA/600/ R-12/572, December 2012 Revised. Cincinnati: NRMRL, 2012. 135 p.
2. Kondratyev V. B. Peru as a New Actor in Global Mining Equipment Value Chain. Russian Mining Industry. 2017. No. 4. pp. 48–54.
3. Izyumov D. B., Kondratyuk E. L. Production of Rare Earth Metals in The Interests of Defense and the Impact of Regulatory Restrictions on The Industry in the United States. Innovatics and Expert Examination. 2019. No. 3. pp. 175–182.
4. U.S. Geological Survey, 2020, Mineral Commodity Summaries 2020: U.S. Geological Survey, 200 p. DOI: 10.3133/mcs2020.
5. Yushina T. I., Petrov I. M., Grishaev S. I., Chernyi S. A. International Rare Earth Metals Market and Processing Technologies: State-of-the-Art and Future Prospects. Gornyi Zhurnal. 2015. No. 2. pp. 59–64. DOI: 10.17580/gzh.2015.02.11
6. Alonso E., Sherman A. M., Wallington T. J., Everson M. P., Field F. R., Roth R., Kirchain R. E. Evaluating Rare Earth Element Availability: A Case with Revolutionary Demand from Clean Technologies. Environmental Science Technology. 2012. Vol. 46, Iss. 6. pp. 3406–3414
7. Chernyi S. A. Comparative Valuation of Rare Earth Metal Deposits. Mineralnye Resursy Rossii. Ekonomika i Upravlenie. 2013. No. 3. pp. 37–41.
8. Doriomedov M. S., Sevastyanov D. V., Shein Е. А. Technological, Institutional and Economic Trends in The Industry of Rare and Rare-Earth Metals (Review). Proceedings of VIAM. 2019. No. 7. pp. 3–11.
9. Petrov I. M. Russia Imports up to 90% of Rare Earth Metals. The Rare Earth Magazine. August, 3, 2016. URL: (accessed: 21.04.2021).
10. Du X. Y., Graedel T. E. Uncovering the Global Life Cycles of the Rare Earth Elements. Scientific Reports. 2011. Vol. 1, Iss. 1. 145. DOI: 10.1038/srep00145.
11. Peterson E. S., Jones E. Improving Rare Earth Reuse and Recycling. Presentation of 248th American Chemical Society Meeting San Francisco, 10–14 August, 2014. URL: (accessed: 21.04.2021).
12. Binnemans K., Jones P. T. Rare Earths and the Balance Problem. Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy. 2015. Vol. 1, Iss. 1. pp. 29–38.
13. Bongaerts J. C., Liu J. Production Process and Recycling of Rare Earth Elements. The IMRE Journal. 2013. Vol. 7, Iss. 2. pp. 1–9. URL: (accessed: 21.04.2021).
14. Hitachi Develops Recycling Technologies for Rare Earth Metals. Hitachi Ltd., December 6, 2010. URL:
15. Binnemans K., Jones P. T., Blanpain B., van Gerven T., Yang Y., Walton A., Buchert M. Recycling of Rare Earths: a Critical Review. Journal of Cleaner Production. 2013. Vol. 51. pp. 1–22.
16. Vinay Kumar, Manis Kumar Jha, Archana Kumari, Rekha Panda, J. Rajesh Kumar, Jin Young Lee. Recovery of Rare Earth Metals (REMs) of Primary and Secondary Resources. In: Rare Metal Technology. N.J.: Walley, 2014. pp. 81–88.
17. Takeda O., Okabe T. H. Current Status on Resource and Recycling Technology for Rare Earths. Metallurgical and Materials Transactions E. 2014. Vol. 1, Iss. 2. pp. 160–173.
18. Dupont D., Binnemans K. Recycling of Rare Earths from NdFeB Magnets Using a Combined Leaching/Extraction System Based on the Acidity and Thermomorphism of the Ionic Liquid [Hbet][Tf2N]. Green Chemistry. 2015. Vol. 17, Iss. 4. pp. 2150–2163.
19. Sekine N., Daigo I., Matsuno Y., Goto Y. Dynamic Substance Flow Analysis of Neodymium and Dysprosium Associated with Neodymium Magnets in Japan. The 6th International Conference on Life Cycle Management in Gothenburg, 2013. URL: (accessed: 21.04.2021).
20. Value Recovery from Used Electronics Project, Phase 2 (August 2019). URL: (accessed: 21.04.2021).
21. Rare Earth Element (REE) Recycling for the Permanent Magnet Industry. Corporate presentation, January 2020. URL: (accessed: 21.04.2021).
22. Tunsu C., Retegan T., Ekberg C. Sustainable Processes Development for Recycling of Fluorescent Phosphorous Powders – Rare Earths And Mercury Separation: a Literature Report. Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, 2011. 65 p.
23. Binnemans K., Jones P. T. Perspectives for the Recovery of Rare Earths from End-of-Life Fluorescent Lamps. Journal of Rare Earths. 2014. Vol. 32, Iss. 3. pp. 195–200.
24. Machacek E., Richter J. L., Habib K., Klossek P. Recycling of Rare Earths From Fluorescent Lamps: Value Analysis Of Closing-The-Loop Under Demand And Supply Uncertainties. Resources, Conservation and Recycling. 2015. Vol. 104. pp. 76–93.
25. Sevastyanov D.V., Doriomedov M. S., Sutubalov I. V., Kulagina G. S. Directions for the Development of Manufacturing Technologies in The Field Of Rare Earth Metals. Proceedings of VIAM. 2018. No. 1. pp. 31–40.
26. Linyan Li, Shengming Xu, Zhongjun Ju, Fang Wu. Recovery of Ni, Co and Rare Earths from Spent Ni-metal Hydride Batteries and Preparation of Spherical Ni(OH)2. Hydrometallurgy. 2009. Vol. 100, Iss. 1-2. pp. 41–46.
27. Presentation of Hoboken plant, Umicore, 2012. URL: (accessed: 21.04.2021).
28. Ivaschenko A. The World’s First Recycling System for Old Batteries from Honda., March, 6, 2013. URL:
29. Nak-Kyoon Ahn, Basudev Swain, Hyun-Woo Shim, Dae-Weon Kim. Recovery of Rare Earth Oxide from Waste NiMH Batteries by Simple Wet Chemical Valorization Process. Metals. 2019. Vol. 9, Iss. 11. 1151. DOI: 10.3390/met9111151.
30. Rademaker J. H., Kleijn R., Yang Y. Recycling as a Strategy against Rare Earth Element Criticality: A Systemic Evaluation of the Potential Yield of NdFeB Magnet Recycling. Environental Science & Technology. 2013. Vol. 47, Iss. 18. pp. 10129–10136.
31. Review of the Rare Earth Elements (Metals) Market in the CIS and the World (11th ed.). Moscow : INFOMINE
Research Group, 2018. 196 p.
32. Kudryavsky Yu. P., Zhulanov N. K., Melnikov D. L. et al. Process Division for Decontamination of Salt Wastes from the Chlorination Process of REE Titanium-Niobates. RF Patent for a Utility Model No. 62112 under Application No. 2005140815/22 (044572) with Priority of 17.11. 2006, Registered and Published on 27.03.2007. Bulletin No. 09.
33. Glushchenko Yu. G., Larichkin F. D., Sibilev A. S. Extraction of Neodymium Oxide from Grinding Waste from Permanent Magnet Production: Issues of Technology and Economic Efficiency (Materials of The Rusredmet Group of Companies Website). URL: (accessed: 21.04.2021).
34. Samonov A. E. Commodity Priorities Speedy Recovery and Sistainable Development of the Rare Earth Industry in Russia. Tsvetnye Metally. 2012. No. 3. pp. 16–21.
35. Bykhovsky L. Z. Existing, Potential and Promising Sources of Rare Earth Minerals in Russia. Mineralnye Resursy Rossii. Ekonomika i Upravlenie. 2014. No. 4. pp. 2–8.
36. Samonov A. E. Study of Mineral Forms of Rare Metals in Industrial Waste Processing Fosfogipsovyh Khibin Apatite. Prospect and Protection of Mineral Resources. 2011. No. 4. pp. 78–80.
37. Abramov A. M., Galiev R. S., Sobol Yu. B. Organization of REM Production in the Complex Processing of Phosphogypsum: Topical Issues. Relevant Issues of Extraction, Production and Application of Rare Earth Elements in Russia : Collection of Reports of the All-Russian Conference. Seversk: Izdatelstvo STI NIYaU MIFI, 2013. pp. 55–59.
38. Abramov A.M., Volobuev O. I., Galieva Zh. N. et al. Organization of Pilot Manufacturing for Separation of Group Rare-Earth Concentrates (GREC) with Production of Individual Compounds of Lanthanum, Cerium, Neodymium, Praseodymium and the Medium REE Group Concentrate. Relevant Issues of Obtaining and Applying REM and RM–2017 : Collection of Materials of the Scientific and Practical Conference. June 21-22, 2017. Moscow : OAO “Institut “GINTSVETMET”, 2017. pp. 148–151.
39. Data on the prices of REM of the SMM Consulting portal. URL: (accessed: 21.04.2021).

Full content Problems and prospects of waste processing and recycling of production containing rare earth metals