PERTH (miningweekly.com) – A prefeasibility study (PFS) at ASX-listed Metallica Minerals’ Sconi scandium project, in Queensland, has demonstrated that the project was economically and technically viable.
The PFS was based on a high-pressure acid leach processing plant treating some 200 000 t/y of high-grade scandium laterite from the company’s Lucknow deposit.
The project would produce between 50 t/y and 65 t/y of high-purity scandia over a 20-year life-of-mine operation.
The PFS has estimated a capital cost of A$247-million for the project, with a net present value of A$273-million and an internal rate of return of 20.6%.
First scandium oxide production has been targeted for early 2016, subject to financing.
“The prefeasibility study supports the company’s strategy of focusing on the Sconi project where it has the opportunity to potentially become the world's first, major long-term reliable producer of scandium from a primary scandium deposit,” said Metallica MD Andrew Gillies.
Phase 1 of the project has been design to be a commercial standalone project, and could lead to a development decision for a much larger Phase 2 brownfield expansion, at a later date.
It was envisaged that Stage 2 would process some 750 000 t/y of scandium, producing nickel/cobalt and scandium products from the southern resources.
“The prefeasibility study has shown the Sconi Phase 1 to have attractive economics with solid upside potential. In addition, it is an ideal precursor for the much larger potential full-scale Phase 2 nickel/cobalt/scandium operation proposed as future major expansion seeking to maximise the use of the Sconi nickel/cobalt resource base,” said Gillies.
He added that scandium production could then be substantially expanded and the project life extended.