Excellent heavy rare earth oxide results from Dubbo Project pilot plant testing

ASM’s latest results for terbium and dysprosium separation at the ANSTO pilot plant have exceeded target specifications.

ASM is pleased to announce excellent results from its latest terbium (Tb) and dysprosium (Dy) heavy rare earth (RE) separation test work. The results confirm the design capability of the Dubbo Project’s advanced process flowsheet to produce high purity Tb and Dy oxides at industry leading product quality.

The pilot plant test work was conducted by ANSTO, Australia’s Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation. Results show the process is capable of producing Tb and Dy oxide product streams that meet or exceed target specifications of >99.99% for Tb and > 99.95% for Dy, at steady state.

“These excellent results demonstrate the strength of ASM’s advanced technical capability. Producing both light and heavy rare earth oxides at high purity sets the Dubbo Project and ASM apart and allows us to offer industry leading product quality to our offtake partners.”

Rowena Smith, ASM Managing Director and CEO

The terbium and dysprosium pilot plant at ANSTO

Dubbo Project Community Newsletter

ASM Chief Operating Officer Chris Jordaan with engineers from Bechtel Australia inspecting the Shibble Bridge in Dubbo.

There has been plenty happening at our Dubbo Project and within the Dubbo community over recent months.

Our latest Community Newsletter provides a wrap-up of the project progress we’ve made and highlights where the ASM team has continued to build positive partnerships with local stakeholders.

From a project perspective, the non-process infrastructure (NPI) study work with Bechtel Australia is well underway. The study work will advance the engineering maturity of the NPI design in key areas outside of the process plant, including:

  • Residue storage and handling facilities,
  • Site water management,
  • Utility design and supply, and
  • Site establishment planning.

Significantly, this work will contribute to developing capital and operating costs estimates key to ASM making its final investment decision on the Dubbo Project by the end of 2024.

Out in the community, we’ve continued to work with Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana, schools associated with the Dubbo College ASPIRE program and, most recently, the colourful Cross Cultural Carnivale!

Click the button below to read the full newsletter.

The Dubbo Cross Cultural Carnivale in September celebrated the town’s growing and vibrant multicultural community.



ASM awards Bechtel NPI study work to progress Dubbo Project

Australian Strategic Materials (ASM) is pleased to announce the award of a consultancy services agreement to Bechtel Australia Pty Ltd (Bechtel) for the provision of engineering services for non-process infrastructure (NPI) study work to support advancing the Company’s Dubbo Project.

This work will contribute to developing capital and operating costs estimates key to ASM making its final investment decision (FID) on the Dubbo Project.

The Dubbo Project site

“We are pleased to confirm this agreement with Bechtel – a trusted partner with extensive experience in this area of work. With federal funding confirmed [for this work] in May, we have progressed in line with our project plan to put the contract in place, commence this important aspect of our early establishment activities and keep us on track for FID by the end of 2024.”

Rowena Smith, ASM Managing Director

Bechtel will commence work immediately, with the term of the contract running until 31 December 2024.

Global mining executive Ms Rowena Smith appointed ASM CEO

Global mining executive Ms Rowena Smith, has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of ASM, after former Managing Director, Mr David Woodall stepped down.

Ms Smith has been ASM’s Chief Operating Officer since joining the company in 2021. During this time she has led ASM’s critical minerals and rare earths Dubbo Project team, and overseen the construction and commissioning of ASM’s first high purity metals plant in Korea.

In announcing Ms Smith’s appointment, ASM Chair Mr Ian Gandel said:

“The Board is delighted to appoint Ms Smith as CEO.  She has demonstrated she is a highly capable leader, with extensive experience and an impressive track record in the mining sector.”

Ian Gandel, Chair, ASM Board

“The Board has confidence Ms Smith’s appointment will deliver a seamless leadership transition, enabling ASM to continue to focus on delivering its mine-to-metals strategy.“

Ms Smith said she was thrilled to accept the CEO role at such a crucial time for ASM and the global critical metals industry.

I am excited to be taking up the leadership of ASM through this next phase of its development, particularly as we seek to progress our Dubbo Project and supply industry with the high-tech metals vital for a sustainable energy future

Ms Rowena Smith

“This is a crucial time for our industry, and for Australia, to claim its place on the world stage with critical minerals and rare earths projects like Dubbo, which can offer quality and reliable, supply alternatives to a currently heavily monopolised and unstable global market.  I look forward to leading the ASM team as CEO and taking the next steps in our journey together.”

Ms Smith has almost 30 years of global mining experience in various senior roles including strategy, commercial, operations and ESG.  Prior to joining ASM, Ms Smith was South32’s Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice President Supply, leading teams across Australia, South Africa, Mozambique, Colombia and the United States.

Ms Smith has also held roles with Rio Tinto and BHP for Nickel West, including as Head of Resource Planning & Development and Projects, Manager Strategy and Acquisitions, and General Manager Kwinana Nickel Refinery.

ASM and Toongi Pastoral Company announce partnership with Macquarie Anglican Grammar School

Craig Mansour, Macquarie Anglican Grammar School and Fergus Job, TPC

Australian Strategic Materials (ASM) and our subsidiary Toongi Pastoral Company (TPC) are excited to announce our partnership with Macquarie Anglican Grammar School’s new – Macquarie Agricultural Pathways Program!

Starting next term, the program will see a targeted group of students in Year 7 at the school, engage in weekly farm visits to TPC sites. The students will play an active role in day to day farm operations and be exposed to all areas of an environmental and agricultural business.  They will be able to apply their learnings in areas of mathematics, science and technology (STEM), and agriculture in a real-world context.


This is at the core of what we are striving to achieve at Macquarie, the development of resilient young people who are ready and willing to make a difference in the world. We educate students to be all that they can be. This means, we need to meet our young at their point of need. This program allows us to work together to develop them as highly-skilled, well-rounded leaders of Agriculture

Headmaster Craig Mansour, Macquarie Anglican Grammar School


Macquarie’s Agricultural Pathways Program will assist students in transitioning what they learn in the classroom into their real world, and to develop the skills necessary for employment in the Agriculture sector directly, or to prepare for entry into Tertiary-based programs.


Together, we are moulding opportunities for students who haven’t yet found their `fit’ in traditional education pathways. At TPC we want to engage and inspire these students, and expand the choices available to them, now and later in life.

Fergus Job, Manager at Toongi Pastoral Company


We look forward to welcoming the first group of students to the program next term.

ASM signs Exclusive Heads of Agreement with Hyundai Engineering Corporation

Australian Strategic Materials (ASM) has announced that following ongoing discussions with HEC in relation to the development of the Dubbo Project, it has signed a Heads of Agreement with Hyundai Engineering Corporation Co., Ltd., to exclusively negotiate with HEC the delivery of the FEED, which could progress to the EPC.

The agreement for the exclusive negotiation follows the request for proposal process run by ASM for FEED for the Dubbo Project, where HEC have been identified by ASM as the preferred candidate based on HEC’s experience and capability.

Under the HoA, ASM and HEC have entered into an exclusivity period for the award of FEED by 31 March 2022 and subject to the successful delivery of FEED for the award of EPC until 25 February 2023. The Company’s current target is for the FEED contract to be awarded in Q1 2022, and for the delivery of the FEED in Q4 2022. The terms of the FEED and any EPC (including the price, scope, and schedule) are yet to be agreed by the parties.

ASM Managing Director David Woodall said exclusively engaging with HEC was another key milestone in moving the Dubbo Project towards a Final Investment Decision and demonstrates the support the Dubbo Project has from key stakeholders in Korea.

The team at HEC are impressive being at the forefront of providing innovative and sustainable engineering solutions that will enable the successful delivery of our Dubbo Project, a key to our “mine to metal” strategy.

Meeting HEC CEO Mr Kim Chang-Hag and his team shows the quality project partner HEC brings.  The desire of both HEC and ASM to work in partnership to deliver the Dubbo Project with significant benefits to both Korea and Australia puts us in a great position as we continue discussions with Korean financial institutions to fund the development of Dubbo.

Mr David Woodall

HEC Chief Executive Officer Kim Chang-Hag said:

HEC has delivered large projects successfully globally, and we are delighted to be working with ASM on FEED progressing to EPC to develop the Dubbo Project. We believe we can deliver an innovative and optimised solution to support the development of the Dubbo Project and ASM’s critical metals business in a partnership that helps Korea secure the critical metals it needs for its manufacturing industries.

Read ASX Announcement

Korean Consortium successfully completes due diligence on the Dubbo Project

Australian Strategic Materials Limited (ASM) is pleased to advise that the consortium of South Korean Investors, comprising Cerritos Holdings Co., Ltd, Kamur Partners LLC and ACE Equity Partners LLC, (the Investing Partnership) has successfully completed due diligence on the Company’s flagship Dubbo Project. This represents a key milestone in progressing the consortium fund’s proposed conditional investment under the Framework Agreement. (see ASX Announcement: 21 July 2021)

After a delay due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, ASM recently hosted an extensive Australian due diligence visit by the Investing Partnership. This included visiting the Company’s Dubbo Project and discussing ASM’s research partnerships and business activities in Australia.

ASM’s Managing Director, David Woodall, said the completion of due diligence to the satisfaction of the Investing Partnership had taken place in parallel with continued progress on the remaining formal binding terms of the consortium’s investment.

“We are very pleased to have successfully concluded the due diligence process. Together we are now focused on securing a significant South Korean strategic investor to partner with ASM on its Dubbo Project, and to completing the terms for a formal binding agreement.”

“Our relationship with our Korean partners continues to go from strength to strength,” Mr Woodall said.

Spokesperson for the Investing Partnership, CEO and Founder of Cerritos Holdings Co., Ltd, Pumsoo Ra said the Investing Partnership was committed to working with ASM to finalise an investment in relation to the Company.

“It is clear that ASM has the resources and technical capacity to partner with us to support the supply chain of critical metals needed for the production of clean energy technologies such as electric vehicles and renewable energy generation capacity, as well as advanced electronics,” Mr Ra said.

“We need that supply chain to be secure and reliable, and we look forward to continuing our discussions with ASM and our partners in Korea.”

ASM will continue to update the market as further milestones are reached.

Read ASX Announcement

Dubbo Project Optimisation Delivers Strong Financials

Key points

  • Optimisation Work for Dubbo Project confirms a strong expected rate of return with pre-tax NPV of AUD 2,361 million, pre-tax IRR of 23.5%, and annual free cash flow (full ramp-up) of AUD 425 million
  • Capital cost estimate of AUD 1,678 million consisting of direct capital of AUD 1,307 million, indirect capital of AUD 208 million, and a contingency of AUD 163 million
  • Forecast annual operating cost of AUD 287 million
  • Forecast based on 20-year life of mine at 1Mtpa plant feed rate based on existing ore reserves. Measured and Inferred mineral resources, which have the potential to extend the mine life, have been excluded for this study
  • Oxides of zirconium, hafnium, niobium, didymium (i.e. neodymium and praseodymium), dysprosium and terbium to be produced
  • Inclusion of major infrastructure to optimise environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance and deliver operating cost savings

Australian Strategic Materials Ltd (ASX: ASM or the Company) is pleased to confirm strong financial results as an outcome of the Optimisation Study and Enhanced Project Addendum (Optimisation Work) for the Dubbo Project (Dubbo Project). The Optimisation Study was based on Alkane Resources Ltd’s optimisation study released to the market in 2018 (ALK: ASX Release 4 June 18 Dubbo Project Engineering and Financials Update) (2018 ASX Release). A summary of the outcomes of the Optimisation Work is included at the end of the ASX announcement entitled Dubbo Project: Project Summary (Project Summary).

The revised financials are based only on the initial ore reserve of 18.9 Mt. Substantial additional measured and inferred mineral resources beneath the ore reserve are excluded from this study.

The Optimisation Work simplifies the Dubbo Project process flow sheet and incorporates new operating strategies that will reduce operating costs and improve the ESG performance of the Dubbo Project. These strategies now include increasing the brine concentrator capacity (halving water consumption), refurbishment of the railway line (which simplifies project logistics and will provide new categories of local entry-level jobs) and development of a chlor-alkali plant (which reduces the cost of reagents and their handling and transportation). These strategies facilitate ESG benefits by reducing water consumption, reducing the handling and quantum of process chemicals, and reducing the number of trucks on local roads, required for the Dubbo Project.

The updated Dubbo Project base case for the 20-year life of mine is expected to achieve a pre-tax NPV of AUD 2,361 million and a pre-tax project internal rate of return of 23.5%. This is a pre-tax IRR improvement of 6.0% compared to the 2018 ASX Release.

ASM Managing Director David Woodall said, “I am delighted with the outcomes of the Optimisation Work which demonstrates the financial strength of the Dubbo Project and ASM’s focus on a sustainable future delivering improved performance and ESG outcomes.”

Dubbo Project Finance Update

Technical due diligence of the Dubbo Project occurring under the Framework Agreement with the Investing Partnership of Korean private equity firms (ASX Announcement: 21 July 2021) has advanced with significant effort made by both parties. However, due to Covid19 travel restrictions between Australia and Korea and on travel within Australia, and the extensive scope of the technical due diligence, the due diligence has not been completed by Q3 2021 as initially anticipated and is continuing to be progressed.

Separately, to facilitate the financing of the Dubbo Project, ASM has appointed Australian and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) as debt financial advisor. ASM made this appointment based on ANZ’s experience and strong relationships in both Australia and Korea, including with Australian and Korean export finance agencies. The ANZ appointment is both necessary and timely as ASM is engaging with those agencies as part of the financing of the Dubbo Project.

ASM Managing Director David Woodall said, “The Framework Agreement is one part of the financing of the Dubbo Project, ANZ’s appointment facilitates further engagement with debt providers that include Australian and Korean export finance agencies. We continue to progress the financing of the Dubbo Project, the development of which will provide an alternate, sustainable, secure, and stable supply of high purity and clean critical metals directly into the Korean manufacturing sector.”

“We look forward to updating the market as we continue to progress the transaction.”

ASM welcomes Australian Clean Energy Summit in 2022

Australian Strategic Materials Limited (ASX: ASM) welcomes Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s comments from Washington DC over the weekend following the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

Speaking from outside the White House at the end of the Quad meeting of leaders, Mr Morrison said Australia would host a clean energy summit next year under the Quad umbrella that would inform the development of a clean energy strategy, including Australia’s role in the supply of critical minerals in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Australian Prime Minister, said it would be an “applied summit” focusing on expert research and technology and would aim to deliver a roadmap to transfer scientific knowledge on clean energy to countries in the Indo-Pacific region. Importantly, Mr Morrison said the Quad country (USA, Australia, Japan and India) leaders recognised the role Australia can play in the supply of critical minerals to support energy and other technologies.

ASM Managing Director, David Woodall, currently in Europe meeting with manufacturers who require rare earth metals and alloys said, China currently supplies the majority of rare earth metals and alloys for the manufacture of electric vehicle components, electronics (semiconductors), communications, aerospace and defence.

“A critical materials strategy with clear objectives and actions will ensure an alternate, stable and secure supply of these critical materials and, importantly, will help to de-risk the global supply chain” said Mr Woodall.

Based on the initial comments by the Prime Minister, it would appear that the clean energy summit envisaged by the Quad is aligned with ASM’s strategy, which includes the construction of our first metal plant in South Korea, with commissioning to commence before the end of 2021.

Delivery of ASM’s Vision 2025 strategy will see the Dubbo Project in NSW producing four critical materials – zirconium, rare earths, niobium, and hafnium, and the target of establishing three additional critical metals production plants, located strategically in the manufacturing hubs of Australia, Europe and North America.”

“We look forward to learning more about the planned clean energy summit in 2022 and to working with the Federal Government on positioning Australia in the global supply of critical metals,” Mr Woodall concluded.