MP Materials set to open Alliance magnetism factory

MP Materials Corp. opened its first rare earth metal, alloy and magnet manufacturing facility this spring in the AllianceTexas development, which is expected to bring jobs and economic development to the Fort Worth area.

The groundbreaking marked the start of the company’s mission to fully restore the U.S. supply chain for magnetic rare earths, according to an April 21 press release from MP Materials.

Magnets are used in a variety of clean energy, information technology, defense and industrial applications.

“Increasingly, the world is currently electrified on every conceivable front, and so the demand for rare earth magnets is skyrocketing,” said Matt Sloustcher, senior vice president of communications and policy at MP Materials. .

MP Materials first announced it was bringing the facility to Fort Worth on December 9, when it also announced a partnership with General Motors Co. to supply rare earth materials, alloys and finished magnets to sourced and manufactured in the USA for electric motors in more than a dozen vehicle models.

Sloustcher said MP Materials plans to begin production at the Fort Worth plant in late 2023.

“Our local, state, and national economic and mobility goals require the safe development of rare earth magnets, and I am proud that Fort Worth serves as the center for our nation’s focus on advancing this effort,” said Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said in the statement. .

But in addition to the big picture, the new MP Materials facility will create approximately 150 highly skilled manufacturing and engineering jobs and 1,300 spin-off jobs related to the construction of the facility.

“This incredible investment will not only create more than 100 new jobs for hard-working Texans, but also strengthen the state’s supply chain in high-tech industries while solidifying Texas as a manufacturing mecca. innovation,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Release.

Why AllianceTexas?

Sloustcher said one of the main reasons MP Materials chose to open its plant in AllianceTexas, a 27,000-acre planned community by Hillwood Development Co., is because of “aligned values” with Hillwood in terms of fast travel to get the site built.

Additionally, Sloustcher said MP Materials chose to open in the Alliance region because the Dallas-Fort Worth area workforce “is ready to support this type of work.”

“It will be a manufacturing facility, but it will also be an engineering headquarters,” Sloustcher said. “There are several major universities in the region. There is a strong workforce.

Ross Perot Jr., chairman of Hillwood and the Perot Group, said in the April 21 statement that MP Materials is “relocating important next-generation manufacturing jobs to America.”

“We are proud that AllianceTexas can partner with MP Materials to play a key role in America’s ability to power its future,” Perot said in the release.

The Fort Worth facility will play a major role in MP Materials’ overall process. MP Materials owns and operates the Mountain Pass rare earth mine and processing facility in California.

The rare earths are a group of 17 elements, Sloustcher said. The most crucial elements in the magnetic supply chain are neodymium and praseodymium, which power things like electric motors, mobile devices and wind turbines.

Sloustcher said the process of obtaining these specific rare earth elements begins at the Mountain Pass facility, where the elements are extracted from the ore, and a mixed rare earth element concentrate is created. The second step is to separate the elements into their individual forms, called rare earth oxide.

This separated rare-earth oxide will go to the new facility in Fort Worth, where it will be reduced to metal, made into a magnetic alloy and then finished into a magnet, Sloustcher said.

“So, [production] starts in California and ends in Texas,” Sloustcher said.

Economic impacts

One of the main benefits of the magnet manufacturing plant is job creation, according to Chris Strayer, executive vice president of economic development for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

” Everything that happens [in AllianceTexas] impacts the community because it creates jobs, creates investment, and just creates opportunities for the community,” Strayer said.

Strayer also said the industry behind MP Materials itself will put Fort Worth on the map as the world becomes more reliant on clean forms of energy.

“It’s definitely something very important for the country in general, and having it in Fort Worth is fantastic,” Strayer said.

The Fort Worth City Council approved a seven-year tax abatement agreement at its Jan. 25 meeting with MP Materials.

The agreement calls for MP Materials to invest $40 million in site construction by December 31, 2023 and contribute an additional $60 million in corporate personal assets to the project. The agreement requires the company to create at least 30 full-time jobs initially with an average annual salary of more than $80,000 and at least 90 full-time jobs, according to city documents.

The tax abatement for real estate and personal property of businesses on the site is capped at $2.76 million, per the agreement. The city of Fort Worth is expected to earn $1.8 million in ad valorem taxes from the project over those seven years.

In addition, Tarrant County Commissioners were briefed on a potential tax abatement deal with MP Materials at their May 10 meeting. The proposal seeks a seven-year county tax abatement totaling $801,500. However, it is unclear when the commissioners would vote on the deal.

“MP aims to make a positive contribution to the communities where we live and work, and we hope this facility does that,” Sloustcher said.

General Motors Partnership

As part of decision to open magnet manufacturing plant in Fort Worth, MP Materials is partnering with General Motors to produce alloys and magnets for its electric vehicle programs, according to the April 21 press release. .

Anirvan Coomer, executive director of General Motors’ global purchasing and supply chain, said in the statement that GM will use products from the upcoming Fort Worth plant in the GMC Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Silverado EV and more than a dozen other electric models.

“MP Materials’ new magnetic facility in Fort Worth, Texas will play a key role in GM’s journey to build a secure, scalable and sustainable supply chain for electric vehicles,” Coomer said in the release.

According to the release, the MP Materials facility in Fort Worth will produce magnets that power approximately 500,000 EV motors annually.

“GM has made it clear that it wants to be a leader in developing electric vehicle supply chains in North America,” Sloustcher said. “We want to be a leader in bringing the rare magnetic supply chain home. So there was a lot of alignment from a business point of view and from a value point of view.

Sloustcher said the partnership with GM represents another aspect of what MP Materials is trying to do: to create its products “in the most environmentally sustainable way possible.”

“When you think of these magnets, they’re used throughout life, but they’re essential to…all of these technologies that help reduce CO2 emissions,” Sloustcher said. “So we think it’s essential that the materials that enable these products are made responsibly.”

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