Australian Strategic Materials announced that its Korean partner ZironTech has successfully produced 30 kilos of titanium metal alloy with the patented reduction process the JV has developed at its commercial pilot plant in South Korea. The process was carried out using 45% less power than current industry methods.
In a press release, the company said this is the first phase of the development of a low-emission, high-purity metal refining technology that can be applied to zirconium, titanium, and rare earths for permanent magnet alloys.
“Typically, in metal production, energy costs accounted between 30 – 40% of total costs. The production of the titanium metal alloy utilising 45% less power indicates significant cost benefits to ASM’s integrated business strategy, this will be further optimised as this metallisation program progresses,” the media brief states.
According to Australia Strategic Materials, the commissioning of the electrorefining section of the pilot plant, which will produce ultra-high purity metal, is planned for sometime in July 2020.
The company also said that further pilot plant runs are planned to produce neodymium, praseodymium, and other rare earths in metallic form.
“This production of titanium metal alloy from titanium oxide feed is a first step in the ASM strategy of value-adding to the output from its polymetallic Dubbo project [in New South Wales], with its large in-ground resource of zirconium, rare earth elements (including yttrium), niobium, and hafnium,” the miner’s managing director, David Woodall said in the statement.