Partners to identify scandium demand

Partners to identify scandium demand Partners to identify scandium demand Partners to identify scandium demand Partners to identify scandium demand Partners to identify scandium demand

Scandium in various forms and purities. Photo: Alchemist-hp

Marion Lopez

In the agreement with Deutsche KBM Affilips, both companies will also collaborate to determine the ability of the Syerston project to meet that demand. 

As part of the process, Clean TeQ has agreed to provide KBM Affilips with access to its studies and technical data of the project to produce test samples of scandium oxide from its bulk sampling and piloting program. 

Clean TeQ will also work with the Deutsche supply chain to facilitate production of aluminium-scandium master alloy for testing and qualification purposes, without committing to off-take or supply.

The agreement is the second of its kind, with Clean TeQ recently partnering with the technology subsidiary of the Airbus Group, APWorks, for the same purposes of determining global scandium demand and the role the Syerston project can play to meet that demand.

Clean TeQ acquired the Syerston project from Ivanhoe Mines in November last year.

While the project was previously mined for its platinum resources, drilling and feasibility studies uncovered a total scandium resource of 25.4 million tonnes at 414ppm scandium for 10,516t contained scandium for a cut-off of 300ppm. Of that, results have confirmed a measured resource of 1.1Mt at 411ppm for 465t contained scandium. Studies also found another 1.2Mt at 666ppm for 818t contained scandium, of which measured resources amount to 0.1Mt at 686ppm for 62t contained scandium.

Clean TeQ plans to use its unique resin-in-pulp process to extract the rare earth, which relies on a combination of continuous ion exchange processes and was previously proven successful for the extraction and concentration of nickel and cobalt during an $8 million technology development project in collaboration with BHP Billiton.

While Clean TeQ said the process for recovery of scandium oxide from primary mine production would have its own specific flow sheet, it believes the foundation technology and ionic extraction and purification chemistry of the process would remain the same.

Leaching and extraction work at Syerston has already started on samples taken from both historic and recent drill campaigns. The mineralisation is hosted in a weathered lateritic material typically only a few metres below the surface.

“Therefore, mining of ore is expected to be relatively simple, with the focus on the efficiency of the leaching and extraction steps, in particular acid and reagent consumption and metal recovery,” Clean TeQ said.