Clean TeQ Considering NSW Scandium Project

Clean TeQ Holdings reported that a feasibility study of its Syerston scandium project 370 km west of Sydney, New South Wales, indicates the potential to produce 49.2 mt/y of scandium oxide (Sc2O3) over an initial mine life of 20 years. The current global supply of Sc2O3 is 10 to 15 mt/y at prices ranging from $2,000 to $3,000/kg. Steady-state cash operating costs for the Syerston project are estimated at $444/kg.

Clean TeQ anticipates that wider availability of scandium may lead to substantially increased use of the metal in lightweight aluminum-scandium alloys and in solid oxide fuel cells.

The Syerston feasibility study was based on a plant with design capacity to process 64,000 mt/y of feed from the project’s near-surface resource. The flowsheet includes a high-pressure acid leach circuit and Clean TeQ’s proprietary resinin- pulp technology for scandium recovery, followed by purification. Time to construct the plant and infrastructure is estimated at 18 months. An 18-month commissioning and ramp up period would follow, with design throughput and production capacity forecast to be achieved in two years.

Capital cost to develop the Syerston scandium project is estimated at A$100 million, including an A$4.5 million contingency. The estimate includes power generation, fuel storage and handling, reagent supply and storage, water supply from Syerston’s established borefield, and all offices, workshops, warehouses, and supporting infrastructure required to operate the facility.

The processing plant would produce 99.9% Sc2O3. The testing regime included operation of a pilot plant that produced Sc2O3 samples for customer validation and qualification and ore variability testing. Potential customer counterparties confirmed that the Sc2O3 samples met their required chemical specifications.

In addition to its plans to develop the Syerston Sc2O3 project, Clean TeQ has a prefeasibility study underway to assess the potential for a large-scale nickel-cobalt project at Syerston to produce nickel and cobalt sulphate products with scandium oxide as a byproduct. The deposit geology is such that the dedicated scandium project considered in the feasibility study and the larger nickel/cobalt project have the potential to be developed independently of each other.

In the event that the preferred development option is construction of a largescale nickel-cobalt project, Clean TeQ expects that the bulk of the engineering and design work completed for the scandium feasibility study can be incorporated directly into the larger project.

As featured in Womp 2016 Vol 10 -