MP Materials CEO says rare magnets supplier is a ‘picks-and-shovels play’ for EV market

MP Materials CEO James Litinsky appeared on CNBC Wednesday, addressing confusion about the rare earth products the company provides in the electric vehicle space.

The mining company, which owns the Mountain Pass open-pit mine in southeastern California, supplies rare earth magnets to electric vehicle makers, but the magnets are not for car batteries, he explained.

“Whatever the battery technology is, we think we’re a picks-and-shovels play for this movement,” he told Jim Cramer in a “Mad Money” interview.

There’s an ongoing debate around the best battery technologies, whether lithium-ion, hydrogen or solid-state, that can be used to power electric vehicles. No matter the battery source, the motor is what MP Materials is concerned about, as their magnets are used in the motor, Litinsky said.

“This is so key, because when people think about materials for EVs, and there’s a lot of excitement” around batteries, he explained. “Who knows what the technology will be.”

Rare earth magnets are used in green technologies, such as electric vehicles and wind turbines, to turn energy into motion, the company says. Electrification trends are leading to growing demand for what’s called Neodynium-Praseodymium, or NdPr. MP Materials is the largest producer of NdPr magnets in the West and predicts it will be the dominant technology for the coming decades.

“We’re agnostic to whatever OEM wins whether its Tesla, Rivian, Arrival, GM, Ford, Volkswagen, any of them, you know, we want all of them to be successful,” Litinsky said.

Shares of MP Materials, which came public last month via a blank-check company merger, surged nearly 10% on Wednesday, closing the session at $28.23.