The MP Materials grant is the biggest of three the department announced under the authorities of Title III of the Defense Production Act (DPA), which ams at strengthening the domestic rare earths supply chain.
The DPA is part of the U.S. strategy to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals under an Executive Order by the President.
The DoD technology investment grant will support MP Materials' project of building out processing and separation capabilities at the Mountain Pass operations.
MP Materials struck a merger deal in July with with Fortress Value Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company sponsored by an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC. Fortress Investment itself is a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group.
MP Materials, which bought the Mountain Pass assets out of administration in mid-July 2017, is listing the enlarged entity on the NYSE this week as MP Materials Corp.
The DoD also signed agreements with TDA Magnetics of Rancho Dominguez, California and Urban Mining Company of San Marcos, Texas for rare earth element magnet supply chain studies and inventory demonstrations. Funding for these was US$2.3 million and US$860,000, respectively.