ZironTech produces neodymium at pilot plant

Clean metal processing technology company ZironTech, a joint venture partner of Australian Strategic Materials (ASM), has completed a first production run of neodymium (Nd) metal in its commercial pilot plant in South Korea.
ZironTech produces neodymium at pilot plant ZironTech produces neodymium at pilot plant ZironTech produces neodymium at pilot plant ZironTech produces neodymium at pilot plant ZironTech produces neodymium at pilot plant

Neodymium belongs to the lanthanide series and is a rare-earth element

ZironTech used an electrolytic process to create 7.6 kilogrammes of neodymium metal assaying 99.8% Nd. 

Australian Strategic Materials, which entered into a joint venture last year with ZironTech that seeks to produce zirconium, titanium, rare earths and other critical materials, welcomed the progress by its business partner.

"This [neodymium production run] is a significant result for ASM, as this process has resulted in the production of neodymium metal at a higher purity than typically traded," said ASM managing director David Woodall.

"My team and I have travelled to South Korea to discuss the significant potential of ASM's integrated strategy with various Korean government and business groups. This also allows me to see the progress made by the great ZironTech team and to celebrate this major milestone with them," said Woodall.

The joint venture between ASM, a subsidiary of listed Alkane Resources, and ZironTech is targeting 45% less energy usage in its rare earth metalisation process than in traditional processes. ASM's Dubbo Project has a long-term resource of ‘critical materials'.

In July, ASM confirmed it had produced about 30kg of alloy with the patented reduction process at the South Korea plant.

ASM noted that the neodymium success comes as the JV is advancing towards the final commissioning of an electro-refining plant and production of other metals in Australia. This process is expected to produce high purity (99.9%) titanium metal with results expected this month, said the company.