The Korean Government has awarded US$4.5 million in grants with the aim to establish clean metal supply independence and advance material technology for future market demand.
Zirconium Technology Corporation (ZironTech) has received funding for the development of a low emission, high purity metal refining technology, in a joint venture with Australian Strategic Materials Ltd (ASM), who has the exclusive rights to the commercialisation of the technology worldwide.
The technology is intended to replace conventional energy-intensive metallisation processes with a more environmentally friendly, sustainable and cost-effective alternative. It can be applied to zirconium, titanium and rare earths for permanent magnet alloys.
ASM Managing Director, David Woodall said the technology has been recognised by the Korean Government as critical in its journey to ensuring sovereign supply for critical materials.
“The technology to produce critical metals adds value to our project and is key to the growth of Korea’s and Australia’s new technology and manufacturing sectors, with the strong government focus on increasing domestic production to secure supply stability.”
The joint venture partners are finalising the commissioning of the commercial pilot plant facility to produce these high-purity metals, while also developing the design for the world’s first commercial scale metal plant.
The project will help meet the growing demand for a new source into domestic and global markets for ASM’s range of high-purity and value-added critical metals from its Dubbo Project in Central West NSW.
The polymetallic project has a large in-ground resource of zirconium, rare earth elements (including yttrium), niobium, and hafnium. The project represents a strategic and independent supply of critical minerals for a range of sustainable technologies and future industries.
The Dubbo Project is development ready, subject to financing, with the mineral deposit and surrounding land acquired, all major State and Federal approvals in place and extensive piloting and engineering completed.
In March, the Australian Government-owned Export Finance Australia (EFA) confirmed interest in assisting with financing the project, stating it closely aligns with the recently announced initiative by the Australian Government to develop its critical minerals sector.
ASM’s investment in downstream processing will improve the economics of the Dubbo project as well as giving it an involvement in the wider commercialisation of a breakthrough technology.