Australian Mines enters scandium research partnership

By Megan Graham. Published at Jun 12, 2018, in Mining

Australian Mines Limited (ASX:AUZ) has confirmed its commitment to maximising revenue and shareholder value from the company’s Sconi Project in Queensland.

The company’s plans to commercialise the high-purity scandium oxide — intended to be produced alongside the project’s cobalt sulphate and nickel sulphate output — have been bolstered by news today that it has entered into a partnership with UK-based technology company Metalysis.

The agreement will add to the ongoing research and development program around “a solid-state process to produce a low-cost yet superior aluminium-scandium alloy for potential use by the automotive and aerospace industries”.

Of course the stock remains speculative at this stage, so investors should seek professional financial advice if considering AUZ for their portfolio.

Originally invented by the University of Cambridge (UK) and then commercialised by Metalysis, this innovative solid-state process has already demonstrated an ability to produce an aluminium-scandium master alloy containing 15 times the amount of scandium compared to conventional industry processes.

In this instance, a master alloy refers to a pre-alloyed concentrate of scandium metal that is added to an aluminium melt to produce the desired final product; an aluminium-scandium alloy useful in automotive and aerospace manufacturing, which generally contains only 0.2% scandium metal.

What’s the upside?

If AUZ is able to utilise Metalysis’ process to produce a scandium-rich master alloy, which would result in a final product up to 30% scandium metal (compared to the industry’s current 2% scandium metal), the outcome could be a 93% reduction in the amount of scandium master alloy required to make the final aluminium–scandium metal requested by end-users.

It follows, according to AUZ, that the success for this development could equate to a significant reduction in the cost of producing the final aluminium–scandium metal — to the extent that AUZ’s contract offer price for the products would be materially lower than most other specialty metals currently available on the market.

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