Rio buys scandium project

28th April 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – Diversified miner Rio Tinto has struck a $14-million deal with ASX-listed Platina Resources to acquire its Platina scandium project, in New South Wales.

The project comprises a long-life, high-grade scalable resource that could produce up to 40 t/y of scandium oxide, for an estimated period of 30 years.

Rio currently produces scandium oxide from titanium dioxide production waste streams at Sorel-Tracy in Quebec. Once operational, the Platina scandium project will enable Rio Tinto to more than double its yearly scandium production.

Rio told shareholders on Friday that the acquisition aligns with the company’s strategic goal to grow in materials essential for the low-carbon transition.

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

“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.”

On closing, Platina will receive $8-million cash, less a $1-million warranty retention payment which is re-payable by Rio after 30 months. Platina may also receive future cash payments totalling $6-million subject to Rio achieving project milestones including granting of a mining lease.

Platina MD Corey Nolan said the sale unlocked value in the project where Platina had made a considerable investment advancing the project through exploration to the definitive feasibility study stage.

“The transaction with Rio is congruent with Platina’s strategy of advancing projects along the value chain and monetising when a new combination of technical, market or financial capability is required. This enables projects to achieve optimal scale, minimises Platina’s capital outlay and accelerates returns to investors,” Nolan said.

“Platina discovered the scandium resource in 2011 as part of an exploration programme for platinum and nickel/cobalt. Platina has advanced the project over the last 12 years through geological, metallurgical and engineering studies to the point where its value has been recognised by one of the world’s largest and leading natural resource companies.

“This transaction with Rio Tinto will also allow Platina shareholders to benefit from an injection of new funding to advance its extensive gold portfolio and pursue other more advanced project opportunities without shareholder dilution,” he said.

Scandium is considered a critical mineral by the US, 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.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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