Neo Performance Materials' (TSX: NEO) European rare earth and rare metal processing facility in Estonia has been awarded a Gold Medal by EcoVadis for its 2021 sustainability programs. The facility, located in Sillamäe, Estonia, is the only operating commercial rare earth separations and rare metal processing plant in the European Union.
EcoVadis is one of the world’s largest providers of business sustainability ratings. It evaluates a company’s sustainability management and progress, using methodology is built on international sustainability standards, including the Global Reporting Initiative, the United Nations Global Compact and the ISO 26000.
The Gold Medal now places Neo’s Silmet facility in the top 5% of all facilities around the world reporting to EcoVadis for its sustainability programs in 2022. This award marks the third Neo rare earth facility to have achieved top marks for sustainability efforts from EcoVadis. The Neo Magnequench facilities in Korat, Thailand, and in Tianjin, China, both earned medals earlier this year.
“I am very pleased and proud of our entire Estonian team for achieving a Gold Medal from EcoVadis for its 2021 sustainability performance and for doing so well in our first year of independent EcoVadis review,” said Jeff Hogan, Neo’s EVP and head of the company’s chemicals and oxides unit. “This recognition by EcoVadis helps to illustrate to our customers and stakeholders that Neo takes sustainability and environmental protection very seriously.”
The Silmet facility processes mixed rare earth feedstock into a variety of high-purity rare earth specialty materials, including neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) oxide, which is used by Neo’s Magnequench business unit to produce neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnetic materials and magnets for automotive, factory automation, home appliance, circulation pump and other applications. It also produces environmental vehicle catalyst materials, which help reduce harmful emissions from cars and trucks, as well as high-purity niobium and tantalum metals.
Neo currently is examining plans to expand the Silmet plant’s rare earth processing capacity, as well as to potentially establish sintered NdFeB magnet manufacturing in Estonia. Sintered NdFeB magnets are the world’s strongest permanent magnets and are crucial components to an increasing number of electric vehicle models, advanced wind turbines and other technologies.
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