Hitachi Ltd. said it has developed machinery to harvest rare earth metals from discarded hard-disk drives and compressors as electronics makers seek to reduce their reliance on Chinese supply.
The machine can extract 100 rare earth magnets from hard-disk drives per hour, about eight times faster than manual labor, Tokyo-based Hitachi said in a statement on Monday. The company plans to get 10 percent of its rare-earth needs through recycling when the business begins operating in fiscal 2013, according to spokeswoman Satoko Yasunaga.
China produces 97 percent of the world’s supply.
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