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Australian Strategic Materials’ (ASM) first high purity critical metals plant has been officially opened in Ochang, South Korea.

The establishment of the flagship facility consolidates 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, energy efficient metallisation process.

The initial focus will be on neodymium iron boron and titanium alloy. Neodymium iron boron is a key component of permanent magnets used in electric vehicles and wind turbines, while titanium alloys have uses across multiple high tech industries.

ASM managing director David Woodall said KMP represents a new source for critical metals.

“Products from the plant will help to de-risk and relieve bottlenecks in the global supply chain,” he said.

“This 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 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 material mined and processed at ASM’s Dubbo Project.