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Rio Tinto announces acquisition of scandium project in NSW for $14m

Sep 08, 2023

Rio Tinto is paying $14 million to acquire a high-grade scandium project in NSW which would allow it to double its annual production of the metal, commonly used in the production of alloys.

The mining giant on Friday said it had entered into a binding agreement to acquire the Platina scandium project near Condobolin in central NSW.

It comprises a long life, high-grade scaleable resource that could produce up to 40 tonnes a year of scandium oxide, for about 30 years.

Rio said the acquisition aligns with its strategic goal to grow in materials essential for the low-carbon transition. The company already produces scandium oxide from titanium dioxide production waste streams at Sorel-Tracy in Quebec, Canada.

“This acquisition supports our commitment to critical minerals and finding better ways to provide materials the world needs,” Rio’s minerals chief executive Sinead Kaufman said.

Daniel Newell

Danielle Le Messurier and Daniel Newell

“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.”

Scandium is one of the most effective elements able to strengthen aluminium, while also offering improved flexibility and resistance to heat and corrosion.

It is used to produce high-performance aluminium alloys in a range of industries including aerospace, automotive, heat exchangers, sporting goods, 3D printing and energy transmission applications.

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