Change of Joint Company Secretary

ASM is pleased to announce that Julie Jones, ASM’s General Counsel, has been appointed Joint Company Secretary, effective immediately. Dennis Wilkins will remain as Joint Company Secretary with Ms Jones.

Ms Jones is an experienced General Counsel and Company Secretary with a strong background in mining and manufacturing, and has more than 18 years of legal, commercial, strategic, and corporate governance experience. Most recently, Ms Jones was General Counsel and Company Secretary for Matrix Composites and Engineering Ltd.  Ms Jones’s other past roles include General Counsel and Director of People at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA, and Corporate Counsel at Iluka Resources Ltd.

As part of the change, James Carter has resigned from his position as Joint Company Secretary.

ASM Managing Director David Woodall said that Mr Carter was instrumental in steering ASM through the de-merger from Alkane Resources and its listing on the ASX.

“On behalf of the Board I thank James for his important contribution and loyalty to ASM, and to Dennis for his ongoing work for the Company,” Mr Woodall said.

“I also congratulate Julie Jones on her appointment. Julie brings a wealth of experience across a range of industries that will be invaluable as we progress the Dubbo Project, and complete the conditions under the Framework Agreement with the South Korean Investing Partnership.”

Quarterly Activities Report to 30 June 2021

Highlights

ASM continued to execute its “mine to metal” strategy:

ASM’s Managing Director David Woodall said ASM was at a critical stage of its evolution as key projects matured and major milestones were reached.

The last quarter and the period since then have been transformational for ASM, with key financial support from the Australian Government, the backing from investors for our equity raising, and the Framework Agreement with the South Korean Investing Partnership that sets us on a path to realising our ‘mine to metal’ vision,” Mr Woodall said.

I’d like to thank shareholders for their support of our equity raising, which puts us in a very strong position to pursue the great opportunities we have to create an alternative supply chain for the critical metals that will power modern industries such as electric vehicles, renewable energy and aerospace.

I’m also very pleased that we have recruited a high-calibre leadership team that is working with me and the Board to drive ASM’s future. Looking forward, we expect to start production from our relocated pilot metals plant in Korea next quarter, while building towards the completion of the Korean Metals Plant. We will also complete the optimisation study for the Dubbo Project.

Most importantly, we will be working with our new Korean partners to complete the conditions of our Framework Agreement, which will ultimately provide us with $250m of equity for the Dubbo Project, and a foundation customer for strip metal alloy from our Korean Metals Plant.

Post the close of the June Quarter, on 21 July 2021 ASM announced US$250m framework agreement with South Korean consortium for 20% in Dubbo Project and offtake from Korean Metals Plant (ASX Release 21 July 2021: ASM signs $US250m framework agreement with South Korean consortium for 20% in Dubbo Project and offtake from Korean Metals Plant).

Image of signing ceremony for the Framework Agreement. Attendees from L to R: Ms Catherine Raper, Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Korea; Mr David Ko, CEO of ACE Equity Partners LLC; Mr PS Ra, CEO of Cerritos Holdings Co., Ltd; Mr Jerry Kwak, CEO of Kamur Partners LLC; Mr Ian Gandel, Chair of ASM; The Honourable Mr Dan Tehan, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment; and Mr David Woodall, Managing Director of ASM.

Download the Full Quarterly Report

ASM signs $US250m framework agreement with South Korean consortium for 20% in Dubbo Project and offtake from Korean Metals Plant

ASM (the Company) has entered into a conditional exclusive framework agreement (Agreement) with a consortium of South Korean Investors to subscribe for a 20% equity interest in Australian Strategic Materials (Holdings) Ltd (ASMH) for a subscription price of US$250m (equivalent to AU$340m based on current exchange rates) (Proposed Transaction). ASMH is a wholly owned subsidiary of ASM and is the holding company for ASM’s Dubbo Project.

Key points

  • ASM has signed a conditional framework agreement with a consortium of South Korean investors for the acquisition of a 20% equity interest in ASM’s Dubbo Project holding company.
  • Under the Agreement a consortium fund will invest $US250m for the 20% equity interest.
  • The Investing Partnership intends to establish a second fund to develop a domestic Korean permanent magnet manufacturing business that will enter into an offtake agreement for NdFeB (neodymium-iron-boron) alloy from ASM’s Korean Metals Plant.
  • The Agreement creates a pathway for ASM to develop the Dubbo Project and execute its ‘mine to metal’ strategy.

The Agreement includes provision for a ten-year offtake agreement for up to 2,800tpa of NdFeB (neodymium-iron-boron) alloy from ASM’s Korean Metals Plant (KMP), which is currently under construction in Ochang, South Korea (Proposed Offtake Agreement). The volumes outlined in the Proposed Offtake Agreement anticipate 100% of the neodymium oxide planned to be produced at the Dubbo Project being the primary source of feed to the KMP post the completion of construction.

The Investing Partnership comprises three respected South Korean private equity firms (none of which are related to the Company): Cerritos Holdings Co., Ltd, Kamur Partners LLC and ACE Equity Partners LLC (the Investing Partnership). The Investing Partnership intends to establish a South Korean consortium fund (Consortium Fund) for the purposes of the acquisition of the 20% equity in ASMH. Further, the Investing Partnership intends to form a separate consortium fund to establish and develop a permanent magnet manufacturing business in South Korea (MagnetCo Fund). MagnetCo Fund will be the counterparty to the Proposed Offtake Agreement.

The Investing Partnership will arrange investment into the Consortium Fund which is expected to include strategic investment from major Korean industrial companies. Under the Agreement, the subscription funds are payable to ASMH on satisfaction of the conditions. The funds are intended to be used by ASMH, in combination with other funding sources, to progress the development of the Dubbo Project.

The Agreement represents an important contribution of financial support for the Dubbo Project, a proposed long-term polymetallic resource development containing rare earths, zirconium, niobium, and hafnium, all critical metals essential for advanced and clean technologies. ASM recently announced conditional finance support from Export Finance Australia (EFA) (ASX Announcement 28 June 2021).

ASM Chair, Ian Gandel, said: “I am truly delighted that the vision shown by the whole ASM team to become a leading global supplier of critical metals is bearing fruit. I would like to thank the Non-Executive Directors comprising Ian Chalmers, Nic Earner and Gavin Smith for their significant and valued contribution to ASM. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the loyalty and commitment that Ian Chalmers has shown to the Dubbo Project over the past 25 years. I would also like to thank our Managing Director, David Woodall, for his dedication and persistence to deliver this incredible opportunity during the Covid19 pandemic.

“We welcome the encouragement received from the South Korean business community and Government, which are grounded in strong relationships. We would also like to thank the Australian Government for its interest and support for our projects. We look forward to finalising arrangements with the Investing Partnership and funding entities as soon as possible and delivering on ASM’s ‘mine to metal’ strategy.”

ASM Managing Director, David Woodall, said: “In opening a financing pathway for the Dubbo Project, this Agreement heralds an exciting new phase in ASM’s growth and puts us one step closer to executing our ‘mine to metal’ strategy.

 “We are delighted our new South Korean partners have recognised the mutual value of the strategic investment opportunity represented by our integrated manufacturing capability that offers a new, cleaner source of critical metals and alloys to a rapidly expanding market. Cementing our ties with South Korea’s advanced manufacturing sector represents an incredible opportunity to create value from our Dubbo Project.”

CEO of Kamur Partners LLC, Jerry Kwak, said: “We are very proud to be associated with this strategically important project that will give rise to significant upstream and downstream benefits for both Korea and Australia, ushering in new opportunities for downstream permanent magnet product manufacturing.”

ASM and the Investing Partnership will now work towards finalising the conditions before completing the Proposed Transaction and Proposed Offtake Agreement by the end of 2021.

Signing ceremony for the Framework Agreement. Attendees from L to R: Ms Catherine Raper, Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Korea; Mr David Ko, CEO of ACE Equity Partners LLC; Mr PS Ra, CEO of Cerritos Holdings Co., Ltd; Mr Jerry Kwak, CEO of Kamur Partners LLC; Mr Ian Gandel, Chair of ASM; The Honorable Mr Dan Tehan, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment; and Mr David Woodall, Managing Director of ASM.

Download the Full ASX Announcement

 

Export Finance Australia issues letter of support for the Dubbo Project

ASM is pleased to announce conditional finance support from Export Finance Australia (EFA) to secure A$ 200 million of debt funding for its Dubbo Rare Earths Project in Central NSW.

EFA has advised that it will commence detailed due diligence of the Dubbo Project, in line with the agency’s mandate to support eligible Australian projects with targeted debt solutions to supplement private market finance.

ASM Managing Director David Woodall said the Dubbo Project’s alignment with the objectives of the Australian Government’s Critical Minerals Strategy – to diversify global critical mineral supply and capture more value from the critical minerals value chain – would be a key factor in a successful application to secure Australian government financing.

“The critical metals we will produce from the Dubbo Project – including zirconium, niobium and hafnium, and the rare earth elements neodymium, praseodymium, terbium and dysprosium – are all in high demand for a suite of modern industrial applications, including energy-efficient technologies, electric vehicles, aerospace, defence and telecommunications,” Mr Woodall said.

“We are developing an integrated “mine to metals” business, which will be unique in that we will take all project products from the mine and manufacture them at our Korean and global metals plants into critical metals, alloys and powders that can be used directly by hi-tech industries.”

As outlined in EFA’s non-binding letter of support, a successful outcome from the EFA assessment and due diligence process is contingent on a number of conditions, summarised below:

  • securing offtake commitments for metal products, which diversify critical metal supply chains;
  • execution of a lump sum turnkey fixed date contract with an acceptable engineering contractor for the engineering, construction and commissioning of the Project;
  • finalising the Project’s funding plan including the raising of equity and securing funding from other lenders;
  • meeting eligibility criteria, credit and risk requirements, including, but not limited to, EFA’s “know your customer” and anti-bribery requirements and checks; and
  • the Project receiving the required regulatory and environmental approvals.

“The Dubbo Project is ready for construction, with all major State and Federal approvals and licences in place,” Mr Woodall said.

“Our discussions with potential offtake, equity and financing partners in the Dubbo Project have been very positive and are continuing. We look forward to updating the market as this progress.”

 

Download the ASX Announcement

 

ASM boosts leadership team ahead of key decisions

ASM is pleased to announce key leadership appointments to drive the Company’s progress towards the implementation of its “mine to manufacturer” strategy in the production of critical metals, including rare earths for advanced manufacturing.

Chief Operating Officer – Rowena Smith

Rowena Smith joins ASM from her former role with South32 as the Chief Sustainability Officer accountable for the sustainability strategy and business processes, including HSE standards, enterprise risk management systems, and climate change.

Rowena brings over 28 years of global mining experience and has held various senior roles in strategy, commercial, and operations, including Vice President Supply at South32 and General Manager Kwinana Nickel Refinery, BHP. Rowena’s early years were spent in operational leadership roles within Rio Tinto’s aluminium smelting business. Rowena holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Western Australia and is currently the Chair of the Board for the Women and Infants Research Foundation.

Chief Financial Officer – Jason Clifton

Jason Clifton joins ASM from Woodside Energy Limited, where his most recent position was Senior Vice President Financial Services, responsible for Treasury, Tax, and Finance. Before Woodside, Jason worked in the banking industry, including roles as Chief Financial Officer of Bankwest and Chief Financial Officer of Westpac New Zealand.

Jason is a Board member at Volunteering WA, holds a Bachelor of Commerce from UWA, is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australia, and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

General Counsel – Julie Jones

Julie Jones is an experienced General Counsel and Company Secretary with a strong background in mining and manufacturing. Julie has more than 18 years of legal, commercial, strategic, and corporate governance experience. Julie has significant experience in the areas of contract, employment, intellectual property, and mining law. Julie has comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of company secretarial matters, including the Corporations Act and ASX.

Most recently, Julie was General Counsel and Company Secretary for Matrix Composites and Engineering Ltd. Before this, Julie has held legal roles in the not-for-profit and mining industry.

President Asia – Frank Moon

Frank Moon has more than 25 years of experience in the metal and material industries, working in various global environments. He has been involved in international business development and global marketing and operation, where he held executive roles in South Korea, UK, Europe, USA, Japan, and China.

Mr. Moon is a Chemical Engineer from Sydney, Australia, and before joining ASM, he was operating as an expatriate in various regions. He has extensive experience working in and with South Korean Corporations and has provided consulting services to ASM for the last 18 months to assist with the development of the Ziron Tech metallisation process.

Chief Culture Officer – Tess Lackovic

Tess Lackovic is a senior people and culture executive with over 15 years’ experience within globally and locally listed mining, oil and gas, and manufacturing businesses. Holding a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Masters in Commerce, Tess has worked extensively in growth markets for organisations that have rapidly scaled their global operations, including Kentz, SNC Lavalin, BHP, BlueScope Steel, and several privately-held businesses.

Tess has built and led extensive teams to execute two of the biggest oil and gas construction projects in recent Australian history – Gorgon and Ichthys – and has executed multiple Greenfield expansions, complex Joint Venture partnerships, system transformations, and mergers & acquisitions in her career.

Chief Information Officer – Peter Simko

Peter Simko has over 30 years of experience in the resources, defence, and engineering industries working with companies including Clean TeQ, St Barbara, Tenix, Wiluna Mines, and WMC Resources.

He has expertise in technology, business systems, and business transformation, with a focus on business improvement, digital innovation, and project leadership.

Peter is also the founder and chair of a volunteer fundraising organisation called Rock Off MND, an annual live music event that raises funds and awareness for Motor Neurone Disease research. Peter’s qualifications include a Master of Business Administration from Deakin University, and he is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

 


 

ASM’s Managing Director David Woodall said, “the Company is building its capability as it moves towards key decisions on the Dubbo Project in NSW, and the proposed Korean Metals Plant.”

“It’s a great reflection on the direction ASM is heading that we have been able to attract such a high calibre team to drive the business,” Mr. Woodall said.

“ASM is at the beginning of an exciting new phase as it moves towards critical decisions on financing, offtake, and equity for its projects. Our new leadership team will execute our vision to become a global, independent, and integrated critical metals producer by 2025.”

 

Download the ASX Announcement

 

Quarterly Activities Report to 31 March 2021

Highlights

ASM Metals Business

  • Successful production of pre-sintered permanent magnets, with properties and quality confirmed by the Korean Institute of Rare Metals (KIRAM).
  • A 75kg/day run of titanium (Ti) metal powder was successfully produced by Ziron Tech at a pilot scale (metal purity 99.918%, O2 < 300ppm).
  • Quality and significant environmental benefits of high purity titanium powders confirmed by independent 3D-printed metal part producer HANA AMT. Completion of the 5,200tpa Korean Metals Plant (KMP)1 study confirming strong economics
    • Estimated capital: approximately US$35-45 million
    • Estimated annual revenue: approximately US$180-190 million
    • Estimated annual EBITDA: approximately US$45-$50 million
  • Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chungcheongbuk-do (Chungbuk) Provincial Government and Cheongju-si (Cheongju), City Government to locate ASM’s first metals plant (KMP) within the Ochang Foreign Investment Zone in South Korea.

MoU Signing Ceremony with Chungcheongbuk-do Provincial Government and ASM’s David Woodall

Dubbo Project Optimisation

  • South Korean companies identified to progress a build, own, operate (BOO) development for the provision of renewable power, chlor-alkali plant, directly for the Dubbo Project.
  • Progressing opportunities to leverage the full breadth and depth of South Korean manufacturing capabilities to provide valuable support in the development of the Dubbo Project.

Corporate

  • Announced an equity raising to primarily fund the final engineering and construction of the proposed 100% owned KMP, and accelerate the Dubbo Project’s detailed construction design.
  • Executed non-disclosure agreements and advanced discussions with several large South Korean corporations as prospective partners.
  • Continued discussions with potential strategic, and engineering and construction, partners in South Korea to present the potential economic benefits of ASM’s “mine to manufacturing” strategy.
  • Progressing discussions with South Korean Government and financial groups regarding the financing of the Dubbo Project.
  • Advanced discussions and negotiations with South Korean metals manufacturers about titanium, NdFeB, dysprosium and zirconium offtake arrangements.
  • Strategic engagement with key South Korean Government departments (Korean Institute of Technology, KORES and Ministry of Trade and Industry) on the development of the Dubbo Project.

 

Download the Full Quarterly Report

 


1 Refer to ASX announcement 2 March 2021. The material assumptions underpinning the scoping study continue to apply and have not materially changed

Completion of non-renounceable entitlement offer and shortfall notice

ASM announces the Company’s pro-rata non-renounceable entitlement offer (Entitlement Offer) of new ordinary shares in the Company (New Shares), closed on 16 April 2021 and proceeds of $26,919,096 have been raised pursuant to the Entitlement Offer.

The Company received applications from eligible shareholders for 5,608,145 New Shares at the issue price of $4.80 per New Share, representing an approximate 65.23% take-up. Together with the placement to institutional and sophisticated investors of $65,000,000 (refer ASX release 26 March 2021), the gross proceeds under the capital raising are $91,919,096 (Capital Raising). The placement to institutional and sophisticated investors completed on 6 April 2021.

 

The proceeds of the Capital Raising will be used to provide funding for ASM to focus on advancing key workstreams including engineering and development of the Korean Metals Plant (KMP) and the FEED Study for the Dubbo Project, while also providing additional working capital and funding of corporate costs.

Managing Director, David Woodall stated “This Capital Raising builds on the momentum that ASM has generated through the technical milestones achieved since listing in July last year. The funds raised will cover important work on both the KMP and the Dubbo Project as ASM advances its critical metals strategy.”

The Directors wish to thank shareholders for their continued support of the Company, and again welcome new shareholders who participated in the Capital Raising.

New Shares are expected to be issued on Friday, 23 April 2021, with normal trading of the new shares expected to begin on Monday, 26 April 2021.

ASM maintains the flexibility to place shortfall under the entitlement offer but has made no decision to do so at this stage.

For further information regarding the Offer please contact Company Secretary, Dennis Wilkins, on +61 8 9227 5677 or via email at dennis@dwcorporate.com.

 

Download the ASX Announcement

 

ASM to bolster balance sheet through $65m placement and up to a further $41m through entitlement offer

ASM is pleased to announce that the Company has received firm commitments from sophisticated, professional and institutional investors for the placement of approximately 13.5m fully paid ordinary shares (New Shares) at $4.80 per New Share, raising $65m in gross proceeds (Placement).

Managing Director, David Woodall, commented: “We are delighted to have completed the placement component of this raising from existing and new international and Australian institutional investors. I am very pleased to welcome new shareholders to the Company, who join our register at a truly exciting time as we finalise plans to develop our first metallisation facility in Korea.

The funds raised significantly bolster our balance sheet, placing the Company in a strong position as we progress key workstreams which include the development of the proposed Korean Metals Plant and advancing key FEED workstreams on the Dubbo Project in New South Wales.

Importantly, we continue to advance our strategy for sustainable growth, with a primary focus on developing ASM into a globally relevant, independent and integrated metals producer by 2022.”

Highlights

  • Firm commitments received to raise approximately $65m through Placement at $4.80 per share
  • Strong international and domestic demand, with several high-quality institutions participating in the Placement
  • Funds raised from the Placement significantly strengthens ASM’s existing cash position, with further funds expected to be raised from the Entitlement Offer
  • Proceeds provide funding for ASM to focus on advancing key workstreams including engineering and development of Korean Metals Plant and the FEED Study for the Dubbo Project, while also providing additional working capital and funding of corporate costs
  • 1 for 14 Entitlement Offer will now proceed, at the same pricing as the Placement, to raise up to a further $41m, with some of ASM’s largest shareholders committing to take up approximately 29.4% of entitlements under the Entitlement Offer

The Placement

A total of 13,541,667 New Shares will be issued under the Placement at a price of $4.80 per New Share (Offer Price) under ASM’s ASX Listing Rule 7.1 placement capacity.

New Shares issued under the Placement will rank equally with existing ASM ordinary shares. The Offer Price represents a discount of:

  • 4% to the Company’s last closing price on 23 March 2021 of $4.99; and
    10% to the 5-day volume-weighted average price of $5.35.

Settlement of the Placement is scheduled to occur on Thursday, 1 April 2021.

Entitlement Offer

ASM is also undertaking a 1 for 14 pro-rata non-underwritten, non-renounceable entitlement offer to eligible shareholders to raise up to approximately a further $41m (before costs) (Entitlement Offer).

Eligible shareholders as at the Record Date of Wednesday, 31 March 2021, with a registered address in Australia or New Zealand, will be invited to participate in the Entitlement Offer at the Offer Price (being the same price as the Placement). The Entitlement Offer is expected to open on Wednesday, 7 April 2021, and close at 5pm (Perth time) on Friday, 16 April 2021, unless extended. As the Entitlement Offer is non-renounceable, entitlements will not be tradable or otherwise transferable.

Certain large shareholders (including ASM’s largest shareholder Abbotsleigh Proprietary Limited) who hold a combined voting power of 29.4% have committed to take up their full pro-rata entitlements under the Entitlement Offer, totalling approximately $12m.

The terms and conditions and further details of how to participate in the Entitlement Offer will be set out in the Offer Booklet which is expected to be sent to eligible shareholders on Wednesday, 7 April 2021. The Offer Booklet will include a personalised entitlement and acceptance form. Copies of the Offer Booklet will also be available on the ASX and the Company’s website.

Proceeds from the Placement and Entitlement Offer will be primarily used as follows:

  • To fund the final stage of engineering and construction of ASM’s proposed Korean
    Metals Plant (KMP);
  • Further engineering (FEED) work in relation to the Dubbo Project in NSW;
  • Corporate costs; and
  • Working capital and offer costs.

Timetable

The indicative timetable for the Placement and Entitlement Offer is set out below:

 

Download the ASX Announcement

Download the Equity Raising Presentation

ASM signs MOU with South Korean provincial government for metals plant location

ASM has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Chungcheongbuk-do (Chungbuk) Provincial Government and Cheongju-si (Cheongju), City Government to locate its first metals plant (Korean Metals Plant or KMP) within the Ochang Foreign Investment Zone in Korea.

The Chungbuk Provincial Government MoU covers supply of utilities, administrative licenses and permit procedures, including the Korean Standard Industrial Classification code for rare metals and rare earth metals. The MoU also includes a government grant, in accordance with the Foreign Investment Promotion Act.

Chungbuk is located 115km south of the Korean capital, Seoul, and 20km north of Daejeon, the site of the metalisation pilot plant. The region has substantial existing infrastructure and a competent technical workforce.

Provincial Governor Si-Jong Lee said, “To sustain the growth of the Chungcheongbuk-do economy, we strongly support this investment. ASM is establishing its Korean headquarters, R&D centre and metals plant in the Ochang Foreign Investment Zone. This will provide key rare earth metals to the Korean economy and local employment to revitalise our local economy.”

ASM Managing Director, David Woodall, said “This MoU, along with the strong support from the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and the Chungbuk Provincial Government, provides ASM with confidence to build the metals plant in the Ochang Foreign Investment Zone. With key Korean manufacturing companies like LG Chemical, Samsung SDI, SK Hynix, and Hyundai Mobis within close proximity, we are confident that building our first metal plant in this well established industrial area will provide significant benefits.”

ASM’s Korean Metals Plant will initially produce high-purity neodymium-iron-boron powder and titanium powder using the innovative, low-energy metallisation process developed by ASM’s Ziron Tech team.

Last week, ASM announced it had completed an internal scoping study for the initial 5,200tpa metals plant, with the results demonstrating the feasibility of the Korean Metals Plant (ASX announcement, 2 March 2021).

 

Download the ASX Announcement

Scoping study demonstrates feasibility of ASM Korean metals plant

Highlights

  • Initial 5,200tpa Korean Metals Plant study delivers strong economics
    • Estimated capital – approximately US$35-45million
    • Estimated annual revenue – approximately US$180m-190m
    • Estimated annual EBITDA – approximately US$45m-$50m
  • Expenditure of US$ 1.5m on detailed engineering approved by ASM Board & underway
  • A final investment decision (FID) on the 5,200tpa Korean Metal Plant expected in mid-2021
  • Plans to expand the 5,200tpa Metal Plant to over 16,000tpa by 2024
  • Commercial production of Titanium and NdFeB metal powder from ASM’s existing Korean commercial pilot plant proposed to commence in Q2 2021

ASM has completed an internal Scoping Study for an initial 5,200tpa metals plant (Korean Metals Plant or KMP) in Korea. The results of the study demonstrate the feasibility of the Korean Metals Plant.

As a result of the positive outcome of the Scoping Study, the ASM Board has approved an expenditure of approximately US$1.5million for detailed design engineering. This will provide a fully engineered scope of works and further refine capital estimates, before making a final investment decision by June 2021. The Korean Metals Plant will initially produce high-purity neodymium iron boron powder and titanium powder using the innovative, low-energy metallisation process developed and patented by ASM’s Ziron Tech team.

With the completion of the detailed engineering and the confirmation of the capital costs of the KMP, an investment decision is anticipated by June 2021. Construction of the Korean Metals Plant is expected to be completed by mid-2022, with metal production to progressively increase, expecting to reach full capacity of 5,200tpa by mid-2022.

ASM will continue to pursue its collaborative strategy with Korean manufacturers to independently produce key critical metals, focusing on rare earths, titanium and zirconium metals, alloys, and powders. ASM expects to expand the capacity of the KMP to over 16,000tpa by the end of 2024, to meet the potential Korean demand.

ASM Managing Director, David Woodall, said: “Our ability to commercially produce high-purity critical metals for advanced technology manufacturers in Korea gives ASM an excellent foundation to be an independent fully integrated critical metals producer globally. With the US$4.5million grant in 2020 from the Korean Government and the excellent work and milestones delivered by our Ziron Tech team, we are confident about our strategy to integrate into Korea’s critical metals sector.”

“Korea is phase one. Once complete, this will provide the template for future ASM metals plants in other regions. We’ll now continue to progress our ‘mine to manufacturer’ strategy using our pilot plant furnaces in the second half of 2021, with the production of titanium and rare earth permanent magnet alloy powders. This will enable ASM to commence providing critical metals directly into the Korean manufacturing sector.”

The Scoping Study demonstrates the potential for the KMP to deliver a profitable standalone downstream business for ASM while the company progresses the Dubbo Project. ASM’s KMP will supply high-purity products direct to the Korean market, providing manufacturers with a stable and secure domestic supply of metals. ASM will continue discussions and negotiations for offtake contracts to grow its customer base and market presence.

Download the ASX Announcement

ASM