The study of the potential for the 5,200 tonne per year plant, which will support its production of rare earths, titanium and zirconium metals, alloys and powers, found the project would require capital of between US$35-45 million.
ASM is hoping to make a final decision for investment by June. Subsequent plans for the facility could grow it in phases to 16,000t/y by 2024, with annual revenue projections are in the range of $180-190 million. It has earmarked a $1.5 million investment now for a detailed design engineering plan.
Initial construction of the Korean plant would be complete by mid-2022. In the meantime, the company said it will continue to look at its collaborative strategy with Korean manufacturers for its independent production programme.
ASM managing director David Woodall said its forthcoming capabilities for production provide an "excellent foundation" to fully and independently integrate as a critical metals producer globally.
"With the US$4.5million grant in 2020 from the Korean government and the excellent work and milestones delivered by our Ziron Tech team, we are confident about our strategy to integrate into Korea's critical metals sector," he noted.
He also said that Korea is just phase one of its plan.
"Once complete, this will provide the template for future ASM metals plants in other regions. We'll now continue to progress our ‘mine to manufacturer' strategy using our pilot plant furnaces in the second half of 2021, with the production of titanium and rare earth permanent magnet alloy powders."