Australian Strategic Materials’ (ASM) Korean research and development partner, ZironTech has successfully produced a titanium metal alloy with the patented reduction process at the JV’s commercial pilot plant in South Korea.
This is the first phase of the development of a low emission, high purity metal refining technology that can be applied to zirconium, titanium, rare earths for permanent magnet alloys. Typically, in metal production, energy costs accounted between 30 – 40 per cent of total costs. The production of the titanium metal alloy utilising 45 per cent less power indicates significant cost benefits to ASM’s integrated business strategy. This will be further optimised as this metallisation program progresses.
The commissioning of the electrorefining section of the pilot plant, which will produce ultra-high purity metal, is planned in July 2020. Further pilot plant runs are planned to produce neodymium, praseodymium, and other rare earths in metallic form.
Australian Strategic Materials Managing Director, David Woodall said it is a significant milestone in the development of a business plan that includes clean metal production from the development of the Dubbo Project in Central West NSW.
“The clean metal technology can be applied to all the products from the Dubbo Project. This has the potential to add significant value to our Australian project, while ensuring supply security and stability of these critical materials to global and domestic Australian manufacturing sectors.”
This production of titanium metal alloy from titanium oxide feed is a first step in the ASM strategy of value adding to the output from its polymetallic Dubbo Project, with its large in-ground resource of zirconium, rare earth elements (including yttrium), niobium, and hafnium.
“ASM’s investment in downstream processing will improve the economics of its Dubbo project, as well as ASM leading the worldwide commercialisation of this breakthrough metallising technology.”
ASM’s JV partner is now progressing the second phase of its metallisation strategy focussing on the production of zirconium metal in July 2020.
As advised to the ASX on 17 June 2020, Alkane is holding an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders to consider demerging ASM and establishing it as a stand-alone, ASX listed company.