ASM signs over critical minerals to Korea

Lithium batteries critical mineral

Australian Strategic Materials (ASM) will begin producing critical metals from its Korean Metals Plant next year, thanks to a collaboration with the Korean Mine Rehabilitation and Resource Corporation (KOMIR).

ASM is set to produce rare earths and metals such as zirconium, niobium and hafnium from its Dubbo project in New South Wales and the collaboration with KOMIR will solidify the company’s ‘mine to metal’ strategy.

The mine is ready for construction, with all major state and federal approvals and licenses secured to allow for a potential mine life of 20 years.

KOMIR, formally known as the Korean Resources Corporation (KORES), has agreed to work with ASM to expand the use of rare earths and critical metals in Korea and develop import opportunities that will secure the supply of these metals for Korean industry.

“This builds on the cooperative and collaborative relationship between Korea and ASM, creating further opportunities to engage on the strategic issue of critical minerals and metal supply,” ASM managing director David Woodall said.

“This joint statement of cooperation is another firm sign of Korea’s commitment to securing its supply of critical metals and to working with ASM to deliver an outcome that is beneficial to the Korean supply chain.

“ASM welcomes this opportunity to work with KOMIR to provide an alternative, secure and sustainable supply of critical metals. ASM will commence production of critical metals at ASM’s Korean Metals Plant in 2022.”

The key areas contemplated under the joint statement of cooperation are the importation of rare-earth products into Korea, and the supply of rare-earth products to ASM to enable Korean domestic production of rare-earth magnet feed metal at ASM’s Korean Metals Plant.

“To improve the supply and demand of rare earths in South Korea, the South Korean government supports the operation of South Korean critical metals plants,” KOMIR chief executive officer Kyu-yearn Hwang said.

“Partnering with ASM will enable us to deliver on our strategy to ensure a stable, secure supply of critical minerals and metals for the South Korean industry.”

KOMIR is the Korean Government Agency responsible for national resource security, including developing overseas mining and processing capacity to supply the Korean market.

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