EDITOR: | March 6th, 2014 | 4 Comments

Is the ‘American Content and/or Assembled in America’ Circus playing in North Carolina?

| March 06, 2014 | 4 Comments

made-in-AmericaHitachi metals’ operations in North Carolina produce rare earth permanent magnets, REPMs, for, among others, the German OEM automotive supplier (of transmissions), ZDf, which I believe, manufactures its products, or at least some of the components for them, also in North Carolina.. So, those are American made REPMs, right? Well let’s take a closer look at the North Carolina plant’s supply chain as it was described to me earlier this week in Ningbo, China, a 3 hour car ride south of Shanghai.

Hitachi purchases some didymium (oxide or carbonate) from Molycorp’s Mountain Pass, California, operations. This didymium is shipped from California to a destination in Asia specified by Hitachi, either Japan or (Hitachi’s j/v metal making operations in) China. Then this material is “blended” with additional Chinese sourced didymium, a boron containing compatible alloy from somewhere, and Chinese sourced and manufactured ferro-dysprosium to manufacture (in China, most likely) neodymium iron boron: dysprosium modified rare earth permanent magnet sintered alloy blocks. Then these blocks are sent to a Hitachi plant in Malaysia where they are machined into shapes for the rare earth permanent magnets to be completed (by being magnetized) at Hitachi’s North Carolina facility.

The resulting product is described as both “having American content (didymium oxide RAW MATERIAL) from Molycorp and as having been “assembled in the USA!”

So, the German company has solved its problem of maximizing American content as has the Japanese company. Thus North Carolina’s Governor, its Federal Senators and Congressmen, and the remaining American OEM automakers can celebrate the American content of their made in-state transmissions.

Note that very little if any technology “transfer” has occurred and even better a minimum of  Chinese/Japanese have been lost, or, as the President of the US likes to say, those jobs (in China) have been “saved.”

See how easy that is?

I welcome any knowledgeable responses by Hitachi, ZDF, or Molycorp to identify any errors in this story or to clarify any of the above steps described. I stand ready to be corrected on any erroneous detail.

Any questions?


Jack Lifton is the CEO of Jack Lifton, LLC and is a consultant, author, and lecturer on the market fundamentals of technology metals. “Technology metals” ... <Read more about Jack Lifton>

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  • hackenzac

    Made in America is a sham when much of the raw and value added materials are sourced from elsewhere. I’m looking at my Chippewa boots with the little American flag emblems on them but are they? With China controlling 90% or more of the rare earth value chain and this being common knowledge, I guess the question is respectfully, what’s your point?

    March 6, 2014 - 2:44 PM

    • Tom

      Jack, your point is both timely and relevant to today’s geopolitical world as perceived by most Americans with whom I discuss such issues. Many of my peers opt to take as factual anything that can be read on a label or advocated by a politician. Thanks for reminding us all that often … things are not as they seem.

      March 6, 2014 - 3:17 PM

  • Tim Ainsworth

    Jack, this was spelt out clearly by Ed Richardson Thomas & Skinner January 2012, page 26:


    Problem is, no one is listening.

    March 8, 2014 - 10:09 AM

    • tek

      SSDD (same s**t, different day) Of course we’re listening, but we are about 1/1000 of a per cent of the population, or to put it succinctly, a fringe group. In art and politics, perception is everything, so “Pay no attention to the man behind the screen.”

      March 9, 2014 - 1:06 PM

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