Australian Strategic Materials (ASM) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chungcheongbuk-do provincial government and Cheongju-si city government to locate its first metals plant within the Ochang Foreign Investment Zone in Korea.
The agreement covers supply of utilities, administrative licences and permit procedures, including the Korean Standard Industrial Classification code for rare metals and rare earth metals. It also includes a government grant, in accordance with the Foreign Investment Promotion Act.
Chungbuk is located 115 km south of the Korean capital, Seoul, and 20 km north of Daejeon, the site of the metalisation pilot plant. The region has substantial existing infrastructure and a competent technical workforce.
“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,” said Provincial Governor Si-Jong Lee.
The metals plant will initially produce high-purity neodymium-iron-boron powder and titanium powder using an innovative, low-energy metallisation process developed by ASM’s Ziron Tech team.
ASM recently announced it had completed an internal scoping study for the initial 5,200-tpa metals plant, with the results demonstrating the feasibility of the Korean metals plant.