Colorado-based Molycorp Inc. and Japan’s Hitachi Metals Ltd. announced they have entered into an agreement regarding the planned formation of joint ventures for the production of rare-earth alloys and magnets in the U.S. The ventures would be focused on the manufacture of neodymium-iron-boron alloys and magnets that are vital to many clean-energy, automotive, computer, communications and other technologies. The parties are expected to sign definitive agreements for the alloy joint venture by early April 2011. Molycorp is the only rare-earth oxide producer in the Western Hemisphere and currently produces approximately 3,000 metric tons of commercial rare-earth materials per year.