Critical metals developer Australian Strategic Metals’ (ASX: ASM) and Korean joint venture partner Zirconium Technology Corporation (ZironTech) have generated a high-purity praseodymium metal using a patented process.
The 5.3kg of 99.3% purity praseodymium metal was produced at the Korean commercial pilot plant, which Australian Strategic Metals claims was the final testing stage of the patented metallisation process for permanent magnet metals.
In the next testing stage, a dysprosium metal will be created along with alloying key permanent magnet metal neodymium/praseodymium.
This latest success follows previous creation of titanium and neodymium metals at the plant.
“It has been a real privilege to be in Korea at this time and see the commercial pilot plant and team in action,” Australian Strategic Metals managing director David Woodall said.
“These metals are essential for advanced technologies including electric vehicles and clean energy.”
Mr Woodall added the generation of these metals brough the company a step closer in its strategy to become a mine to metals producer using a more sustainable process.
Mine to metals producer strategy
Australian Strategic Metals wholly-owns the Dubbo project in New South Wales.
The project hosts several critical minerals and has resources covering zirconium, rare earths, niobium and hafnium.
Via its joint venture with ZironTech, Australian Strategic Metals is advancing separation and metallisation technologies to add value to the project.
An optimisation study for Dubbo is underway while a feasibility study is being carried out on the metallisation plant.
The studies are scheduled for completion before the end of the year.
According to Australian Strategic Metals, the patented process does not have negative environmental impacts that are associated with traditional mining and processing methods.
Mr Woodall said the company would be using today’s result to advance opportunities with various government and business groups to supply critical materials to Korean industry efficiently and in an environmentally responsible manner.
“The same could apply to Australia, with Australian Strategic Metals the only potential integrated supplier of these critical metals, that could support the development of new technologies’ manufacturing sector in Australian, creating employment and providing a supply base to the country,” he added.