Australian Strategic Materials Ltd (ASM) is an emerging integrated producer of critical metals for advanced and clean technologies. Our “mine to metal” strategy is to extract, refine and manufacture high-purity metals, alloys and powders, supplying direct to global manufacturers in clean energies, electric vehicles, aerospace, electronics and communications.
The two key pillars of ASM’s integrated materials business are:
- Mining and recovery of critical metal oxides from the polymetallic Dubbo Project in Australia
- Establishment of metals plants in strategic global locations to convert oxides into high-purity critical metals and alloys.
The Dubbo Project is based on a long-term, globally significant resource of rare earths, zirconium, niobium and hafnium, located in central western NSW, about 400km northwest of Sydney, Australia. The project will become an alternative, sustainable and secure source of critical metal oxides – one of the few supply options outside China. It will also be a flagship project for clean resource development, targeting net zero carbon emissions. The Dubbo Project has all major approvals and licences in place. Final design and construction will proceed once strategic partners and project funding have been secured.
Our integrated critical metals business is founded on an innovative carbon-free metallisation process that converts oxides into high-purity metals – using less energy than conventional methods. Following a successful commercial piloting phase, ASM’s first metals plant will be constructed in South Korea to supply a range of critical metals including rare earths (e.g. neodymium, praseodymium and dysprosium), zirconium and titanium. This will pave the way for further metals plants in globally strategic locations.
ASM listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in July 2020 after demerging from Alkane Resources Ltd.
ASM’s core “mine to metal” strategy is to integrate an independent source of critical materials (the Dubbo Project) with downstream processing into high-value metals and alloys. Our critical metals plants will be located within key global technology markets, enabling seamless integration with manufacturing supply chains.
This approach simplifies, diversifies and de-risks the global supply chain for modern manufacturing industries. At the same time, ASM will maximise the value we capture along the supply chain, adding significant value for shareholders, strategic partners and Australia.
How does ASM’s integrated supply chain add value?
The building blocks of all new technologies are advanced materials, many of which rely on critical metals. Critical metals are so-named because they are in high demand, limited supply, and cannot currently be substituted with any other element to obtain the required functional materials properties.
Producing critical metals takes a number of processing steps, some of them quite sophisticated. Once extracted from the ground, the ore is crushed and processed through several stages to recover the metals as oxides. These metal oxides are then converted into metals using electrorefining techniques.
ASM will be one of the few companies outside China that undertakes all these steps to produce critical metals end-to-end: from the mine, through multiple processing and refining stages, metallisation and powder production. We are also considering the option to take this even further, producing permanent rare earth magnets in partnership with magnet manufacturers.
Most other companies mining rare earths and zirconium send their products to China in concentrate or oxide form for the final stages of processing and metallisation. They are simply not set up to process their commodity minerals into high-value metals. As a result, more than 85% of rare earths are processed in China.
ASM has the potential to transform the global critical metals market. We plan to secure global supply chains by building metal plants around the world. We have the flexibility to source raw materials from both our own production at the Dubbo Project, and anywhere in the world, to produce the metals critical for the advanced technologies that will support a net zero carbon future.