Rio Tinto acquires scandium project in Australia


Monday, 01 May, 2023

Rio Tinto acquires scandium project in Australia

Rio Tinto has announced that it has entered into a binding agreement to acquire the Platina Scandium Project, a high-grade scandium resource in New South Wales, from Platina Resources Limited for $14 million.

The project, near Condobolin in central New South Wales, comprises a long-life, high-grade scalable resource that could produce up to 40 tonnes per annum of scandium oxide, for an estimated period of 30 years.

Rio Tinto currently produces scandium oxide from titanium dioxide production waste streams at Sorel-Tracy in Quebec. Once operational, the Platina Scandium Project would enable Rio Tinto to more than double its annual scandium production, according to the company.

Scandium is a rare, versatile and useful mineral for the green economy and energy transition. It is considered a critical mineral by the United States, Canada, Australia and many other countries. It is one of the most effective elements able to strengthen aluminium, while also offering improved flexibility and resistance to heat and corrosion. As a result, it is used to produce high-performance aluminium alloys for applications that need to be light, strong and heat resistant, including in aerospace, automotive, heat exchangers, sporting goods, 3D printing and energy transmission applications.

Scandium oxide is also used to improve the performance of solid oxide fuel cells used as a green power source for buildings, medical facilities and data processing centres, as well as in niche products such as lasers and lighting.

Rio Tinto Minerals Chief Executive Sinead Kaufman said:

“This acquisition supports our commitment to critical minerals and finding better ways to provide materials the world needs,” said Rio Tinto Minerals Chief Executive Sinead Kaufman. “It will enable us to further develop and grow with the global scandium market, complementing our existing scandium production in Quebec, where we have the expertise, technology and capacity to produce pure, highly reliable scandium through sustainable methods.”

The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023.

Image: iStock.com/JacobH

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