Australian Strategic Materials acquires Korean JV partner

Neodymium praseodymium alloy produced at Ziron Tech’s plant in Korea. (Image courtesy of Australian Strategic Materials).

Australian Strategic Materials (ASX: ASM) announced that it has acquired 95% of its joint venture partner Ziron Tech, and through the acquisition it now owns Ziron Tech’s patented low-emission, high-purity metal refining technology and its pilot plant in Korea.

“With the recently announced development of our first commercial metallisation plant in South Korea, the Ziron Tech team is now progressing towards a continuous production process at scale in Korea where there is an established tech manufacturing industry and market for these metals,” ASM managing director, David Woodall, said in a media statement.

“With the changing dynamics of the critical metals supply chain, ASM is well placed to play a significant role in the global critical metals market, with significant benefits for both Australia and Korea.”

Through the acquisition, ASM now owns Ziron Tech’s patented low-emission, high-purity metal refining technology and its pilot plant in Korea

Ziron Tech has produced metal from all products of ASM’s polymetallic Dubbo project in New South Wales. The project has a large in-ground resource of zirconium, rare earth elements (including yttrium), niobium, and hafnium.

Among the products manufactured by the Korean company are high-purity praseodymium metal (99.3%), dysprosium metal, neodymium and high-purity titanium metal (99.83%), which was made using 30% of the energy employed in standard titanium industry processes. 

To go ahead with the deal, ASM had to acquire 100% of the current joint venture company RMR Tech Corporation and RMR Tech completed the acquisition of 95% of the shares in Ziron Tech.

As consideration for the transaction, ASM will now have to issue 1,306,417 ASM shares for consideration of $2 million to current Ziron Tech shareholders and grant existing Ziron Tech shareholders a Net Smelter Return of 5% from any global commercial metallization facility established using the technology, subject to a 50% step-down of the royalty after payments of $20 million have been made.

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