Rare earth element extraction from hard disk drive magnets
Hard disks typically have two neodymium (rare earth) magnets.
The magnets contain about 30% rare earth elements, mainly Nd.
Magnets from 80 hard disks were investigated in the REEgain
project and found to contain up to 4% of the valuable and critical
heavy rare-earth element dysprosium, Dy. Dysprosium is used when
neodymium magnets are used at higher temperatures such as in the
motor of an hybrid or electric car (HEV's). This finding is
completely new and is valuable info. In most rare-earth mines in
the world, light rare earths are mined since the heavy rare earths
such as dysprosium are lacking. So these magnets turn out to be a
good source for dysprosium.
In order to reuse these magnets various routes can be used.
Either to recycle the magnet as it is. Or crush it into
Another method is to separate the rare-earth elements by
chemical routes. This was done successfully during the present
Figure: Rare earth product from recycled hard disk drive
magnets. Purity: >99%.
Contact: Andreas Peter Vestbø, email@example.com, +45 7220