The Korean Institute of Rare Metals (KIRAM) has successfully produced and tested 2 kg of pre-sintered permanent magnets, produced with high-purity NdFeb powder from a Korean pilot plant owned by Australian Strategic Materials (ASM)’s, headquartered in Burswood, Australia.
The KIRAM scientists made a strip-cast sample using 5 kg of ASM’s NdFeB powder. The strip was subsequently examined with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) in order to confirm the microstructure and magnetic orientation.
Some of the Ziron Tech NdFeB alloy was also pressed into a 2 kg block in order to measure the magnetic characteristics using vibrating sample magnetometry (VSM) compared with a similar sample made from a commercially available alloy.
KIRAM has stated the results indicated that ASM’s pre-sintered magnet exhibited superior magnetic properties than the commercial sample, indicating ASM’s NdFeb alloy is suitable for the production of rare earth permanent magnets. ASM hopes this will prove a further step in its goal of becoming an independent, fully-integrated ‘mine to manufacturer’ producer of critical metals.
“We now have confirmation of the quality and high purity of the permanent magnet alloy and titanium powders ASM can deliver to the Korean industry and, eventually, the global markets,” stated David Woodall, ASM Managing Director. “ASM is now planning to advance in the next few months with the detailed engineering, incorporating both the recently produced titanium and, now, the permanent magnet powders as part of an initial 5,200 tonnes per year plant in Korea, projected to be fully operational by mid-2022.”
Woodall concluded, “The excellent support and collaborative work between the Ziron Tech and KIRAM teams delivered a truly significant result. It provides ASM with confidence that our integrated business model – from the Dubbo Project to metals production – can play an important part in the Korean Government’s ‘New Green Deal’.”