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ASM opens critical metals plant in Korea

Manufacturing News

Australian rare earths producer Australian Strategic Materials rolled out the Lamingtons during celebrations to open the company’s first critical metals production plant in South Korea.

Located in the Ochang Foreign Investment Zone south of Seoul, the Korean Metals Plant will initially focus on supplying neodymium iron borate (NdFeB) and titanium metal alloys into Korean high tech industry supply chains.

NdFeB is the critical component of permanent magnets used in electric vehicles and wind turbines, with its supply dominated by China and Australia’s Lynas Rare Earths.

The Korean Metals Plant utilises the company’s patented, energy efficient metallisation process.

ASM managing director David Woodall said: “We know that global demand for critical metals 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.”

Developed countries outside China have been attempting to control their supply chain of these critical metals, with ASM responding with a business model involving rare earth mining at its Dubbo project in NSW, coupled with overseas metals production plants partly financed by its overseas customers.

This contrasts with Australian government policy which is to have processing of critical metals onshore.

Woodall said: “The plant also signals a new direction for Australia’s resource sector and our strategic collaborations worldwide.

“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.”

The Korean Metals Plant is operated by ASM’s subsidiary Korean Strategic Materials and Metals.

ASM plans future metals plants in other strategic locations where demand is strongest.

Picture: Australian Strategic Materials

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