Clean Technology News

Small pile of minerals extracted in a rare earth mine.
Creating a Circular Supply Chain for Rare Earth Elements 
Published on: October 19, 2023

Kingston, Ontario’s Cyclic Materials is helping the world transition to an environmentally responsible future by recovering rare earth elements from the difficult-to-recycle products. We spoke with Ahmad Ghahreman, CEO, to learn more about the company’s progress and next big milestones.
Describe your core offering(s). How is your organization contributing to a cleaner, greener future?
Cyclic Materials is a cleantech startup with a focus on recycling the critical metals that are the core ingredients of our electrified future and the energy transition. Currently, more than 99% of these metals are lost to landfills. Our team has developed and is scaling up a solution that recovers those metals and puts them back into the economy.
The first part of our solution is a technology that allows us to extract magnets from end-of-life products (for one example, the traction motors of first-generation electric vehicles). The second technology allows us to process the materials to create fresh magnets and other products.
Cyclic Materials will build and operate plants that accept feedstock, convert it, and produce renewed materials with value to the economy and product supply chains.
Other than coffee, what gets you out of bed in the morning? How does this work connect with your core beliefs and values?
While our economy needs the rare earth elements, they must first be mined. As we know, mining can have a very high impact on health, safety, and our environment. We also import a lot of our rare earth metals, and when we’re done with the products, many of them end up in landfills.
This cradle-to-grave system contributes to our carbon footprint, and I really believe it must change. Every day I go to work with a committed and talented team. We are all working towards the same goal. We want to participate in a circular economy, help the world transition to an environmentally responsible future, and make a difference with our technologies.
Tell us about a recent win (or wins) or your organization.
At the beginning of this year, Cyclic Materials received funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada to help scale our technology. In April, we closed US $27 million Series A round. As part of the fund, we’re working toward some significant milestones, and we look forward to sharing our news.
What’s next for your company?
We are currently building a pilot plant for our extraction technology, which will be an inflection point for our recycling solution. The hydrometallurgy pilot was completed last year. We have a lot of confidence in this technology, and we have engaged an engineering firm to finalize the design and build the demonstration plant. I am proud to share that both plants are based in Kingston, Ontario.
Finally, what’s on your team’s wish list for Ontario’s cleantech sector?

We’re very grateful to have received a lot of fantastic support for our company’s growth from the Canadian and U.S. governments. On a broader scale, we hope to see policies that help move us toward circularity in our future electrified society. We can do so much more to recycle end-of-life products.
On the supply chain side, we are very interested in collaborating with different parties for feedstock and products. We don’t limit ourselves to any industries; we want to work with partners who believe in a sustainable future.

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