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Rare-earth supplier, ASM to make KRW 70 bln investments over its new production plant

According to Yonhap News,

North Chungcheong Province and the city of Cheongju signed an investment deal on Mar 8, equivalent, in value, to KRW 70 billion with Australian Strategic Materials Ltd (ASM) over the location of its plant site to produce rare earth materials within the Ochang, Cheongju city, at the presence of RMR Tech Corporation(RMR Tech), an incorporated JV 100% financed by ASM, and its two affiliates, Korea Strategic Materials Technology (KSMT) and Korea Strategic Materials (KSM).

The rare-earth elements, also called rare-earth metals, have diverse applications in electrical and electronic components used in production of smartphones or EV batteries as well as industrial purposes even to develop F-35 fighter jets.

In accordance with the detailed provisions of the deal, KSMT and KSM based in Ochang plant is planned to process and produce the metals, initially supplied by ASM, headquartered in Australia.

The MOU covers supply of utilities and rare-earth minerals to Korean businesses in demand for the metals, forming a value-chain nationwide and making subsequent investments in building out production capacity, upon which a business cluster making the best out of the rare-earth resources, while creating business networks can be built. The deal also entails investor-investee obligation to help create jobs and promote business activities bringing vigor in the community economy.

The provincial authorities and the city office also pledged to provide a full range of financial and administrative supports to help speed up the construction projects.

“I think the MOU we signed this time is believed to give a tremendous impact on the rare-earth production, particularly under the circumstances where China, the dominant global supplier of the rare-earth minerals whose deposit takes up as much as 36.7 percent of the world’s reserves, hasn’t stop showing its storing appetite for the dominance of the minerals indispensable to countless advanced technologies, posing a threat to global rare earth supply chains.”, adding that “To keep abreast with the ROK-AU partnership, we’ll give all forms of support to help grow the investor into a world champion.”, an official said.

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Source: Yonhap News (Mar 8, 2021)

** This article was translated from Korean.