Alkane Resources Limited’s (ASX:ALK) wholly-owned subsidiary Australian Strategic Materials (ASM) is getting closer to completing the construction of a commercial pilot plant facility in South Korea that will enable critical metal oxides, including zirconium and hafnium, to be converted into metals in a clean, carbon-free way.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to highlight weaknesses in critical minerals supply chains globally, ASM has received interest in both potential future supply and partnership from several parties in South Korea and elsewhere.
“Risk of relying too heavily on one country”
ASM managing director David Woodall said: “Security of supply chains is a pressing issue and the COVID-virus worldwide has further highlighted weaknesses in supply chains for a multitude of products and services, including critical elements and materials.
“This includes supply disruptions due to the closure or restricted operation of companies due to health and safety concerns for workers, or supply of essential raw materials and chemicals.
“China’s dominance in the supply of zirconium chemicals and materials has highlighted the risk of relying too heavily on one country.
“We expect the production of metals from ASM’s new green technology will be a catalyst for further discussions and development with potential strategic partners.”
Dubbo polymetallic project
ASM also owns the $1 billion Dubbo Project in Central West NSW, an advanced polymetallic project with large in-ground resource of zirconium, hafnium, niobium, yttrium and rare earth elements.
This polymetallic project is a potential strategic and independent supply of critical minerals for a range of sustainable technologies and future industries.
The Dubbo Project is development-ready, subject to financing, with the mineral deposit and surrounding land acquired, all major State and Federal approvals in place and extensive piloting and engineering completed.
In March, the Australian Government-owned Export Finance Australia (EFA) confirmed interest in financing ASM’s Dubbo Project, stating it closely aligns with the recently announced initiative by the Australian Government to develop its ‘Critical Minerals’ sector.