Prospects for Unconventional Sources of Magnet Materials

Alexander King, Professor of Materials Science & Engineering, Iowa State University

Supply-chain challenges for rare earth elements have generated interest in unconventional sources such as co-production from phosphate mining or coal by-products, ocean-floor mining, and recycling.  We consider the challenges and opportunities for these novel types of sources and contrast them with supply chains based on conventional mining.  The impact of different sources depends on resource extraction technology issues, the evolving technologies of magnetic materials and their applications, harsh market realities, and international trade policies and geopolitical issues.

Alex King is a Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at Iowa State University. He recently completed a five-year term as the founder and Director of the US Department of Energy’s Critical Materials Institute.  He has a lifetime research interest in crystal lattice defects, but in recent years he has increasingly worked on the interactions of materials supply chains, emerging technologies and economic development. He has previously served as the Director of DOE’s Ames Laboratory, Head of the School of Materials Engineering at Purdue, and Vice Provost for Graduate Studies at SUNY Stony Brook. Alex King has also been the President of MRS, Chair of the University Materials Council of North America, Co-chair of the Gordon Conference on Physical Metallurgy, and Chair of the APS Interest Group on Energy Research and Applications. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Mining Minerals and Materials; ASM International, and the Materials Research Society.

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