ASM opens critical metals plant in South Korea

May 13, 2022

The new Korean location is set to be Australian Strategic Materials’ flagship metals plant (Courtesy Australian Strategic Materials)
The new Korean location is set to be Australian Strategic Materials’ flagship metals plant (Courtesy Australian Strategic Materials)

Australian Strategic Materials Ltd’s has officially opened its first high-purity critical metals plant in Ochang, South Korea. The move is said to consolidate the strong partnership ASM has with Korea, and offers an alternative source of critical metals needed to meet forecast global demand.

The Korean Metals Plant (KMP) will produce critical metals and alloys to customer specifications using ASM’s patented metallisation process. The initial focus will be on neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) – a key component in permanent magnets used in electric vehicles and wind turbines – and widely used titanium alloys.

“This plant represents the new direction available for Australia’s resource sector and our strategic collaborations worldwide,” stated David Woodall, ASM Managing director. “Australia can harness its world-leading reputation and expertise in the resources sector, moving into the clean energy sector with strategic global partners such as Korea.”

“We also know that global demand for the critical metals crucial to industries shaping our planet’s future is predicted to outstrip supply. Our Korean Metals Plant represents a new source for these critical metals. Products from the plant will help to de-risk and relieve bottlenecks in the global supply chain.”

Woodall added, “The team in Korea, along with our construction partners have done a fantastic job in designing and delivering this facility. This is an outstanding achievement by all, especially given the difficulties we have faced with delays and disruptions due to COVID.”

The Korean Metals Plant is Australian Strategic Materials’ flagship metals plant and is operated by the company’s wholly owned subsidiary Korean Strategic Materials and Metals (KSMM). The plant is an integral part of ASM’s vertically integrated mine to metals business model. Future metals plants based on its success are planned in other strategic geographic locations. They will be supported by raw materials mined and processed at ASM’s Dubbo Project.

“The Board extends our gratitude to our Korean partners and friends, especially the government of Korea and the Provincial Government of Ochang. All have helped us progress to this important milestone,” stated Ian Gandel, chair of ASM. “This is a great moment for our partnership, as we seek to establish a real alternative supply option for the critical metals needed to meet net-zero targets and to leave our world with cleaner energy options for our children and future generations.”

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