Titanium Copper Alloy Production Confirms Commercial Scalability & Doubles Process Efficiency


  • ASM produced 120kg of titanium copper alloy (99.5% purity), confirming the commercial scalability of its innovative metallisation process.
  • Improvements to ASM’s metallisation process has doubled the metallic yield.
  • ASM continues to work collaboratively with Dongkuk R&S, on the potential to develop a full-scale metal processing facility.

ASM has successfully confirmed the commercial scalability of its innovative metallisation process with the production of 120kg of titanium copper alloy (99.5% purity) at its facility in Korea. ASM’s Ziron Tech team produced two 60kg runs of the titanium copper alloy at a rate equivalent to approximately 1,000kg per day.

This result is significantly above the targeted 250kg per day production rate, outlined in the agreement between ASM and Dongkuk Refractories and Steel Co Ltd (DK R&S), announced on 2 November 2020.

The key to the successful demonstration of the commercial scalability was due to proprietary improvements to ASM’s unique metallisation process, which has seen the efficiency of metal recovery more than double than the initial test work in the pilot plant. This test work confirms the ability of ASM to produce any type of titanium alloy traded in the global metal market.

This increase in efficiency was delivered while maintaining the environmental advantages of ASM’s low-energy metallisation process, compared to the standard industry process. ASM will now focus on accelerating the development of a larger metals plant in Korea through its agreement with DK R&S. Members of DK R&S’s management and technical team were present to witness the successful metallisation run using the improved process.

ASM Managing Director, David Woodall said, “The successful commercial production run of titanium metal alloy is a significant result for the ASM team in Korea. What is even more pleasing is that this result was achieved using a proprietary improvement to our metallisation process, which has more than doubled the metal yield. We continue to discuss with DK R&S how we can accelerate the development of a metal processing plant in Korea.

“In addition to producing metal products from our Dubbo Project in central west NSW, ASM now has the potential to develop a significant business unit around titanium and other metals. This provides a tremendous foundation for ASM and its shareholders.”


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ASM produces permanent magnet metal alloy


  • ASM has produced 200kg of ferro-neodymium (FeNd – Nd 80.3%, Fe 19.9%), a key constituent of strip cast permanent magnet alloys.
  • ASM is working with the Korea Institute for Rare Metals (KIRAM) to produce a strip cast permanent magnet alloy which will be formed and sintered into permanent magnets.
  • Samples of permanent magnets will be distributed to Korean industry for evaluation.

ASM’s Ziron Tech team in Korea has successfully produced 200kg of FeNd, a key rare earth alloy used to produce sintered permanent magnets (via powder metallurgy). Sintered rare earth permanent magnets have high magnetic strength and heat resistance and are essential for advanced and clean technologies including electric vehicles. The FeNd alloy was produced using ASM’s low energy metallisation process and has significant environmental advantages over the industry standard process.

The 200kg of FeNd alloy will be used in the production of rare earth permanent magnets in partnership with the Korea Institute for Rare Metals (KIRAM), a division of KITECH (the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology).

The FeNd alloy will go into a strip casting process at KIRAM to be converted into NdFeB (iron-neodymium-boron) magnet alloy powder. This powder will then be subjected to assay and magnetic strength testing to determine product acceptability.

ASM Managing Director, David Woodall said, “The successful production of the key FeNd alloy, which is essential in the production of permanent magnets, is another significant milestone in ASM’s “mine to manufacturing” strategy. We are looking forward to seeing the progress of KITECH’s permanent magnet production run, as Korea continues to secure its supply chain to provide stability, security, and sustainability for its vital new technology manufacting sector. This is strongly aligned with ASM’s strategy.

“With partners, Dongkuk R&S, we are progressing the design and construction of our 250kg per day continuous metal plant in Korea (as announced on 2 November 2020). We expect to see the first phase of commercial operation within four months. This will represent the start of ASM’s metal business, which should prove very exciting for our shareholders.”


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ASM completes acquisition of Ziron Tech


  • Acquisition of a 95% interest in joint venture partner Ziron Tech
  • Acquisition delivers the ownership of all associated intellectual property including patented metal-refining technology
  • Ziron Tech team integrated into ASM

ASM has successfully completed the acquisition of 95% of its joint venture partner Ziron Tech, and through the acquisition now owns Ziron Tech’s patented low emission, high purity metal-refining technology and the pilot plant in Korea.

ASM’s Chairman Ian Gandel and Managing Director David Woodall with ASM’s Ziron Tech Team

ASM Managing Director, David Woodall said: “We welcome the Ziron Tech team to ASM. This talented team, led by Professor Jonghyeon Lee, has successfully produced metal from all products of our Dubbo Project in central west NSW. Having the Ziron Tech team continue the innovative work on a range of high-purity and value-added critical metals used in advanced technologies, including electric vehicles and clean energy, gives ASM a strong foundation for success.

“With the recently announced development of our first commercial metallisation plant in South Korea, the Ziron Tech team is now progressing towards a continuous production process at scale in Korea where there is an established tech manufacturing industry and market for these metals. With the changing dynamics of the critical metals supply chain, ASM is well placed to play a significant role in the global critical metals market, with significant benefits for both Australia and Korea.”

Key terms of the restructured arrangements relating to Ziron Tech are as follows:

  • ASM has acquired 100% of the current joint venture company RMR Tech Corporation (“RMR Tech”) (increased from its previous holding of 10%).
  • RMR Tech has completed the acquisition of 95% of the shares in Ziron Tech.
  • As consideration for the transaction, ASM will in due course:
    • issue 1,306,417 ASM shares for consideration of USD 2 million to current Ziron Tech shareholders (via a holding entity) at an issue price of AUD 2.068 per share based on a 10-trading day VWAP to 2 September 2020 and using an AUD:USD exchange rate of 0.74. These shares will be subject to voluntary escrow for 12 months; and
    • grant existing Ziron Tech shareholders (via a holding entity) a Net Smelter Return of 5% from any global commercial metallisation facility established using the technology, subject to a 50% step-down of the royalty after payments of USD 20 million have been made.
  • The ASM group now owns all of Ziron Tech’s patents and related intellectual property and technology that were the subject of the RMR Tech joint venture, as well as any intellectual property rights or interests that may be developed by Ziron Tech in the future.


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ASM and Dongkuk sign agreement to construct a 250kg/day commercial plant


  • Design, develop, assemble, install and verify a 250kg commercial grade continuous reduction system using the Ziron Tech patented metal-refining technology
  • ASM will retain ownership of intellectual property and commercial rights to the Ziron Tech technology

ASM and Dongkuk Refractory and Steel (DK R&S) have signed a joint development agreement for a 250kg/day metal plant incorporating the innovative and patented low emission, high purity metal-refining technology in Korea to be acquired by ASM through the acquisition of a 95% interest in Zirconium Technology Corporation (Ziron Tech).

ASM Managing Director, David Woodall said, “The agreement with DK R&S brings together the strengths of ASM with its innovative metal technology and DK R&S, a leading innovative manufacturer of metals and refractory products within the Korean and global markets.

“This production facility will prove Ziron Tech’s patented low emission, high purity metal-refining technology at scale, paving the way for a 3,000 to 5,000 tonne per year metal plant in Korea. Our team in Korea is now progressing the confirmation of the continuous commercial metal production process with significant benefits for Korea, Australia, and the global customers that are faced with changing dynamics in the critical metals supply chain.”

Established in 1974, DK R&S, a subsidiary of DKI, has been supplying refractories, fine ceramics, steel manufacture to various industries globally and domestically within Korea for over 46 years. Dongkuk Industries Group was founded as Daewonsa in 1967, and is recognised as a global leader of cold rolled steel, refractories, and tubular wind power towers.

The Dongkuk Industries Group (“DKG”) includes Dongkuk Industries, Dongkuk Refactory and Steel, Dongkuk Structural and Construction, and DK DongShin. The DKG is recognised in Korea for innovation and the development of technology.

Key terms of the ASM and DK R&S Joint Development Agreement for the Commercial Test Plant are as follows:

  • Design, develop, construct, install and verify a 250kg per day commercial grade continuous reduction system
  • 250kg reduction furnace, design, assembly, and verification will be undertaken at facilities operated by DK R&S under the supervision of a temporary Joint Task Force, with the completed furnace jointly owned by ASM and DK R&S
  • The total budget for designing, developing, assembling and installing of the Commercial Test Plant is USD 1 million paid in a 60:40 ratio between DK R&S and ASM
  • Basic and detailed design of the Commercial Test Plant to be complete within four months from the date of the Agreement
  • Ownership of relevant intellectual property is retained by ASM
  • The agreement will terminate if the testing is not successful within 12 months of signing.

ASM is continuing to progress strategic partner, offtake and financing discussions in Korea. The discussions are preliminary and remain incomplete and it is uncertain whether any of these discussions will lead to a proposal for the consideration of ASM’s directors or shareholders.


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