Metallica technological breakthrough produces high-purity scanadium oxide

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Australian resource development company, Metallica Minerals has completed its first round of pilot scale metallurgical testwork relating to scandium extraction from laterite oretypes sourced from the company’s NORNICO tri-metal project located near Townsville in North Queensland.

The company described the results of the testwork as being very positive, saying that they have confirmed its metallurgical flowsheet and proprietary scandium extraction and refining technology to be highly effective.

Metallica has claimed the results have positioned it as a leader in terms of achieving successful scandium extraction and recovery of high purity scandium at a pilot plant level.

The metallurgical testwork undertaken by Metallica was completed over a five to six month period commencing in February 2012 and consisted of two stages:

Stage 1: HPAL testwork for scandium-nickel-cobalt extraction from the NORNICO laterite oretypes at SGS Lakefield Oretest (SGS) in Perth; and

Stage 2: Scandium extraction and refining into scandium oxide at hrltesting in Brisbane.

Scandium minerals occur within the NORNICO laterite oretypes and via Metallica’s recovery process, the scandium is leached via the HPAL process into solution, and then extracted and refined to scandium oxide also called ‘scandia’.

Metallica said its pilot scale testwork achieved recoveries of approximately 85 per cent of scandium from the nickel laterite oretypes into a scandium oxide product that exceeded the company’s target purity level of over 99.9 per cent, with most of the product achieving 99.99 per cent purity.


Scandium oxide produced by Metallica. Source: Company announcement


“The results achieved by our metallurgical team are simply astonishing when taking into consideration that this is the very first pilot test run of a newly developed technology for extracting and refining scandium, all invented and designed by Metallica here in Brisbane,” Metallica Minerals managing director Andrew Gillies said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Achieving high scandium recoveries of approximately 85 per cent and particularly the refinement into scandium oxide of a purity of 99.99 per cent so soon, are results that exceeded our initial expectations.

“Based on our discussions with potential offtakers, the scandium oxide Metallica has produced should comfortably meet the specifications required by these consumers.

“We will be supplying samples of our scandium oxide product to various potential offtakers, for their evaluation, to confirm this.”

Metallica indicated that in order to protect its Intellectual Property, the company is in the process of submitting patent applications relating to its scandium extraction and refinement techniques.

Metallica said the patents will ensure potential shareholder value derived from the technology is protected.