ZironTech's commercial pilot plant produced 5.3 kg of praseodymium (Pr), assaying 99.3%, ASM stated, adding that this is the final testing stage of the joint venture's patented metallisation process for permanent magnet metals.
ASM and ZironTec are developing a low emission, high purity metal refining technology that can be applied to rare earths used in permanent magnet alloys.
ASM said it will now progress to the production of dysprosium metal and to alloying the key permanent magnet metal neodymium/praseodymium (NdPr) - earlier this month ZironTech completed its first production run of neodymium.
"The production of these key permanent magnet metals brings ASM a step closer to being an integrated "mine to metals" producer," said ASM managing director David Woodall.
ASM is developing the US$1 billion 'Dubbo Project' in New South Wales, a large in-ground polymetallic resource of zirconium, rare earths, niobium, hafnium, tantalum and yttrium.
ASM noted in the statement that Dubbo remains ready for construction with all major approvals and licences in place, an established extraction process flow sheet and a solid business case.
"This significant result provides a strong base for ASM to progress opportunities with various government and business groups to supply critical materials to Korean industry efficiently and with responsibility to the environment," said Woodall.
"The same could apply to Australia, with ASM currently the only potential integrated supplier of these critical metals, that could support the development of a new technologies' manufacturing sector in Australia, creating employment and providing a supply base to Australia."