ASM continues to build relationship with Vietnam Rare Earth Company (VTRE)

ASM continues to build on our relationship with the Vietnam Rare Earth Company (VTRE), after signing a non-binding business agreement with the company in December 2022.  The agreement, which also included Korea’s Chungcheongbuk Province, was for all parties to co-operate to build a global rare earths supply chain.

In March 2023, representatives from ASM visited VTRE in Vietnam to undertake further on site and product due diligence.  As part of this visit, we were delighted to have the Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Andrew Goledzinowski, and the Chair of the local people’s party join us.

Following our visit to Vietnam, VTRE’s Chief Executive Officer and other representatives joined us at our Korean Metals Plants for a site visit and ongoing discussion for the supply of KMP feedstock.


ASM Board appoints Ms Rowena Smith as Managing Director

We are pleased to advise that CEO Ms Rowena Smith has been appointed as Managing Director by the ASM Board, to take effect 6 March 2023.

Mr Ian Gandel, Chair of ASM, said this was a natural progression following Ms Smith’s appointment as CEO in July 2022.

“Since Rowena became CEO last year, she has led the Company through a successful Capital Raising, the commencement of the EPC Definition work for the Dubbo Project and the first sale and delivery of product from the Korean Metals Plant. These activities have placed ASM in a strong position for 2023, as we progress our Dubbo Project and ramp-up of the Korean Metals Plant.”

Ian Gandel, ASM Chair

Dubbo Project MOD1 receives Development Consent Approval

We are pleased to advise that our Dubbo Project SSD Modification Report 1 (MOD1) has received Development Consent approval from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment following a thorough public submission and review process.

The MOD1 determination was required after our December 2021 Optimisation Study led to several design improvements in plans already approved for the Dubbo Project. These included simplifying the project’s process flowsheet and incorporating new operating strategies that would reduce impact on the Dubbo community and environment, while also reducing operating costs and improving project economics.

Congratulations to our Dubbo Project team, who completed numerous environmental studies including noise, air quality and emissions to submit the MOD1 in early 2022, and then to respond to submissions made during the public exhibition process.

Another step forward for our Dubbo Project in 2023!

Dubbo Project team welcomes visit by KMP Representative Director Mr Sung-lea Cho

It was a pleasure to welcome our Korean Metals Plant Representative Director, Mr Sung-lea Cho, on his first trip to Australia.

During his visit, Mr Cho spent time at our Dubbo Project site and toured the project’s test work facilities at ANSTO.

With products from the Dubbo Project (once constructed) going to the Korean Metals Plant for metallisation – this visit provided Mr Cho and the team in Australia opportunity to better get to know one another, as we work together to progress ASM’s `mine to metals’ business.

Mr Cho also spent a week in the Perth office, working with the Executive team on ASM’s 2023 Business Plan.

Dubbo Project team kicks off EPC Definition work with Hyundai Engineering Co.Ltd

Kick-off meeting between Dubbo Project team and HEC representatives.

We are excited to be getting underway with Stage 1 of our Dubbo Project EPC Definition work.

In early February, the Dubbo Project Team held a kick-off meeting with representatives from Hyundai Engineering Co. Ltd (HEC) to commence Stage 1 requirements.

During Stage 1, HEC will establish front-end engineering and design activities and progress standards development.  This work is expected to be completed in mid-2023.

ASM welcomes Annaliese Eames, General Counsel and Joint Company Secretary

Annaliese Eames

We are delighted to welcome Annaliese Eames, in her first week as our General Counsel and Joint Company Secretary.

Annaliese brings over 15 years of legal, commercial, strategic and corporate governance experience to ASM.  Her depth of knowledge covers large scale project contracting, corporate, finance and intellectual property law.

ASM CEO Rowena Smith says that “Annaliese’s substantive experience is directly relevant to the growth of ASM, particularly as we look to progress development of our Dubbo Project in 2023.”

Quarterly Activities Report to 31 December 2022

We are pleased to advise our Quarterly Activities Report to 31 December 2022 has been released.

In line with ASM’s strategic business priorities, key activities for the Quarter included:

  • Strengthened balance sheet by $41.1 million via successful Capital Raise, to position the Company to undertake priority activities in 2023;
  • Completed the neodymium praseodymium metal commissioning and materially progressed the NdFeB alloy commissioning at the Korean Metals Plant; and
  • Negotiated with HEC for a variation to the Dubbo Project EPC Definition contract.  This was finalised after the end of the Quarter and the Notice to Proceed for Stage 1 was issued to allow work to commence.

Dubbo Project gets $10 million funding boost from NSW government

ASM is pleased to advise that its Dubbo Project has been awarded grant funding of $10 million under Stream 2 of the NSW Government’s Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Activation Fund (CMAF), announced by the NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, the Hon. Paul Toole MP.

Subject to the execution of binding documentation, ASM will receive the funding to support early establishment activities for the Dubbo Project.  These activities involve the upgrade of local roads and bridges to ensure high-standard road access for the Dubbo Project’s development and operation.

ASM CEO Rowena Smith thanked the NSW government, saying:

“ASM is pleased that the New South Wales government continues to provide generous support to our rare earths and critical minerals Dubbo Project. The infrastructure upgrades enabled by this grant will benefit not only the project, but also the local community and businesses.”

The total cost of the road and bridge upgrades is estimated to be $20.4 million. ASM will co-contribute $10.4 million to the cost of the works.

ASM plans to commence the upgrade activities in calendar year 2023.

ASM signs Agreement with Korea’s Chungcheongbuk Province and Vietnamese Rare Earth Company

Signing ceremony with VTRE and Chungcheongbuk Province.

ASM has signed a non-binding business agreement with the Chungcheongbuk Province in Korea and the Vietnam Rare Earth Company (VTRE) to co-operate to build a global rare earths supply Chain.

Under the terms of the Agreement:

  • VTRE and KSM Metals Co., Ltd (ASM’s subsidiary) (KSMM) agree to use reasonable endeavours to agree on the long-term supply of rare earth oxides from VTRE to KSMM.
  • VTRE will use reasonable endeavours to develop their mine to ensure they have the capacity to supply rare earth oxides to KSMM with a value of approximately 50 million USD in total over five years commencing in 2023, if commercial terms relating to supply can be agreed upon.
  • The Chungcheongbuk Provincial Government agrees to provide administrative assistance to VTRE and KSM Metals to facilitate the supply of rare earth oxides from Vietnam to Korea.

The long-term supply of rare earth oxides from VTRE to KSMM is intended to ensure certainty of the feedstock required for ASM’s Korean Metals Plant, before the Dubbo Project commences operation. ASM remains committed to developing the Dubbo Project and processing Dubbo Project materials through the Korean Metals Plant.

“We are delighted for this opportunity to work together to secure the supply of rare earth oxides before our Dubbo Project comes online. This will support long-term sales agreements and production ramp-up at our Korean Metals Plant.

We also greatly value this continued show of support for ASM by the Chungcheongbuk Provincial Government in Korea and look forward to growing our relationship with VTRE in Vietnam”

Rowena Smith, ASM CEO

ASM CEO interview featured in The Korea Times

ASM is delighted that CEO Rowena Smith’s interview with The Korea Times was featured on the publication’s front page.

Rowena spoke with The Korea Times about ASM’s `mine to metals’ business and our strong ties to Korea.  She discussed the importance of this relationship, as we work to build a more diverse, secure and reliable supply chain for rare earths, critical minerals and high-tech metals.

Read the full interview here.