Jervois is a junior Oz mining company. They\’ve been touting a nickel laterite project for, ooooh, up to a decade I think. Given that scandium is now fashionable, they\’re touting this project as a scandium project now.
EMC Metals Corporation is a junior on the TSX. They\’re linked with Jerfvois, in that they\’re supposedly preparing the methods by which the scandium will be extracted.
A release to the stock market has crossed my desk.
Essentially, they\’re saying that they\’ve found some cute method of making the aluminium scandium master alloy from the scandium they\’re going to produce.
Sadly, the make two quite serious errors.
outlining the results of a series of laboratory-scale tests
investigating the production of scandium-aluminum (“Sc-Al”) alloys directly from aluminum oxide and
scandium oxide feed materials.
Yes, it\’s well known that this can be done. Alcoa had a patent (whether it\’s still in effect I\’ve no idea) on this so called \”thermite\” process decades ago. Mix the two oxides, set them on fire and you get master alloy.
Yes, it\’s a tad more complex than that in that you want to control it, but that is effectively what is being done.
That\’s not the bad part though this is:
The overall objective of this research is to demonstrate and commercialize the production of Sc-Al
master alloy using impure scandium oxide as the scandium source, rather than pure scandium metal.
The conventional process for the production of pure scandium metal is both complex and expensive, and
• Fluoridation of high purity scandium oxide with HF (at 600 deg C),
• Reduction of scandium fluoride by calcium metal (at 1600 deg C), and
• Refining by vacuum distillation (at about 1800 deg C), or electro-refining at 600 deg C with a
It is the pure metal form that is used today to manufacture Sc-Al master alloys, so this development
effort offers the potential to significantly improve the economics of master alloy production.
No, absolutely not.
Oh, Sc metal can be made that way and yes, it\’s expensive to do so. But that isn\’t the way that Al Sc master alloy is currently made, from the metal. It\’s made from the low grade oxide. Not in such a thermite process, using alumina, this is true, but no one making Al Sc currently uses Sc metal as the feed stock.
This strikes me as being ever so slightly naughty: announcing to the stock market that you\’ve got a new and cheap way of making something, when in fact you\’ve simply confirmed decades old research. Plus, of course, misrepresenting the cost of the process that is currently used and which you\’ll be competing against.