Our metals technology
ASM is investing in new technologies related to the separation, purification and metallisation of oxides. Our goal is to establish an independent facility that produces high-purity metals and value-added metal oxides.
Whilst leveraging the large body of engineering, process and product development work undertaken for the Dubbo Project, ASM’s proposed Clean Metals Facility can be built and operated both independently or integrated with the Dubbo Project to improve the quality and value of the Dubbo Project products.
The pilot plant is currently being built in South Korea under the joint guidance of Korean scientists and Australian ASM engineers. Once technical and commercial feasibility is demonstrated, the development of a Clean Metal Facility will commence following the success of:
- ASM’s proprietary process for separating zirconium and hafnium
- ASM’s investment in a new sustainable metallisation process
- ASM’s product development work into value-added materials
ASM intends to produce high-purity value-added metals and oxides from available materials, which can be supplemented with or replaced by Dubbo Project output once in production.
This facility would help meet the growing demand for a new source of hafnium, establishing markets for ASM’s range of high-purity and value-added zirconium products.
New ‘low-carbon’ sustainable metallisation technology
ASM has invested in a new metallisation technology developed by scientists at Chungnam National University (CNU) in Daejon, South Korea. The new technology promises to replace highly energy-intensive conventional metallisation processes with a more sustainable and cost-effective alternative. It has the potential to be used for many critical metals – including zirconium, hafnium and the rare earth magnet metals, praseodymium and neodymium – that are produced from oxides via chemical processes.
ASM is a part-owner of Korean entity, RMR Tech Corporation (RMR Tech), which is majority-owned by South Korea’s Zirconium Technology Corporation (Ziron Tech). RMR Tech is developing the pilot plant to progress the innovative metallisation technology and will also complete a feasibility study for the construction and operation of a commercial-scale facility. ASM has the exclusive global rights to commercialise the new metallisation technology in relation to zirconium, rare earths, niobium, hafnium and other potential metal products from the Dubbo Project.
Oxide separation technology
As part of the Dubbo Project piloting process, in conjunction with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), ASM developed an innovative process for separating hafnium from zirconium, which is incorporated into the existing Dubbo Project flow sheet. This process has applicability beyond the Dubbo Project to other sources of zirconium and hafnium.