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This mine is the first to target scandium

By Paul Grad |

Scandium International Mining Corp. (Sparks, Nev.; www.scandiummining.com) is about to become the first company to achieve production from a primary scandium mine, with its project near the small town of Nyngan, New South Wales, Australia. The production of scandium from the mine is expected to start in 2018. Scandium (Sc) – a silvery-white metal with atomic number 21 and atomic weight 45 – is quite abundant and is usually extracted from a few deposits of rare-earth elements and uranium. However, because of its low availability and the difficulties of extracting the metallic element, applications of Sc have not yet been fully developed. Scandium’s standard commercial form is as its oxide, Sc2O3, which has a price tag of $2,500–3,000/kg. However, scandium’s properties make it very attractive for many applications, especially as an alloy with aluminum. Al-Sc alloys exhibit great corrosion resistance, heat tolerance, and weldability. Nyngan’s resource is a typical tertiary laterite composed of limonites and saprolites. The scandium recovery and beneficiation will use a conventional flowsheet (diagram) employing continuous high-pressure acid-leach and solvent-extraction techniques. A number of key elements of the flowsheet…
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