The aim of the program is to develop a proprietary process to produce value-added aluminium-scandium, using primary product from Owendale’s proposed high pressure acid leach flowsheet.
Platina is also investigating the potential to make aluminium-scandium alloys from an intermediate product in the scandium oxide refining process, which would simplify the process and lower overall operating and capital costs.
Platina managing director Corey Nolan said: “The master alloy development program will provide the company with a number of benefits including the potential to produce a premium-priced, value-added product.
“[The] alternative proprietary process can enable other downstream alloy manufacturers to incorporate scandium into their product mix, and [has] the potential to lower overall operating and capital costs in the refining process.
“This program is part of a broader analysis of potential by-product revenues that can be generated at Owendale including cobalt, nickel and high purity alumina.”
The first batch of Platina aluminium-scandium alloy
Scandium oxide is used in a variety of applications, including ceramic fuel cells, high intensity lighting and in the production of lightweight aluminium alloys.
The solid oxide fuel cell industry has been the main consumer of scandium, however, the commodity’s greatest value lies in the functional properties it imparts as an alloy in aluminium.
When used in combination with other common aluminium alloys, scandium can produce weldable aluminium products that are stronger, heat tolerant and more corrosion resistant.
Aluminium products are being increasingly incorporated into transportation applications, particularly electric vehicles, for light-weighting and lowering fuel efficiency requirements.
Owendale is one of the largest and highest-grade scandium deposits in the world and has the potential to become Australia’s first scandium producer with cobalt, platinum and nickel credits.
The project, around 350 kilometres west of Sydney, has a mineral resource of 33.7 million tonnes at 385 ppm scandium.
Platina is undertaking a definitive feasibility study for Owendale and expects it to be complete late this year.