A milestone in the development of clean metal technology may help make the current shovel-ready and $1 billion Dubbo Project much more valuable.
Australian Strategic Materials (ASM), established as a holding company for the Dubbo Project by Alkane Resources, has announced that its joint venture partner, South Korea's ZironTech, has successfully produced a titanium metal alloy using "45 per cent less power".
Typically, energy costs can account for up to 40 per cent of metal production.
ASM is pursuing oxide separation and metallisation technologies in its bid to create a range of value-added materials from the Dubbo Project, yet to secure financing.
The company reports the production of a titanium metal alloy is the first phase of the development of a "low- emission, high-purity and metal-refining technology" which can be applied to zirconium, titanium and rare earths for permanent magnet alloys.
ZironTech is currently focusing on the production of zirconium metal at a joint venture commercial pilot plant in South Korea.
ASM managing director David Woodall has spelt out the benefits of clean metal technology to the Dubbo Project in a statement approved for release by the Alkane Resources board through the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
"This is a significant milestone in the development of our integrated business plan that includes clean metal production from the development of the Dubbo Project in Central West NSW," he said.
"The clean metal technology can be applied to all the products from the Dubbo Project.
"This has the potential to add significant value to our Australian project, while ensuring supply security and stability of these critical materials to global and domestic Australian manufacturing sectors.
"This production of a titanium metal alloy from titanium oxide feed is a first step in the ASM strategy of value adding to the output from its polymetallic Dubbo Project, with its large in-ground resource of zirconium, rare earth elements including yttrium, niobium, and hafnium.
"ASM's investment in downstream processing will improve the economics of its Dubbo Project, as well as ASM leading the worldwide commercialisation of this breakthrough metallising technology."
The Dubbo Project's in-ground resource is at Toongi, south of Dubbo.
Meanwhile, Alkane Resources is seeking shareholder support at an extraordinary general meeting on July 16 to demerge from ASM and make it a stand-alone and ASX-listed company.
For further information on the proposed demerger go to www.alkane.com.au/demerger/.