Australian rare earth firm ASM signs South Korea deal as West tries to counter China’s dominance in critical minerals



Su-Lin Tan | South China Morning Post

Australian rare earth producer ASM has strengthened its supply chain by closing a deal with two regional governments in South Korea where it will build its first processing plant for the critical mineral amid a global rush to secure supply chains.

ASM, which has a long-term resource of zirconium, niobium, hafnium and rare earths in a mine in the Australian state of New South Wales, signed a memorandum of understanding for the plant with the Chungcheongbuk-do (Chungbuk) Provincial Government and Cheongju-si (Cheongju) City Government on Tuesday.

The deal includes licences, permits and a grant that will allow ASM to position its factory near important Korean manufacturing companies, including LG Chemical and Samsung SDI, that need the processed metals. The new plant will initially produce high-purity neodymium-iron-boron powder and titanium powder.

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