Future Scandium Supplies
Future Scandium Supplies.
Current world production of scandium oxide is in the 2,000 kg per year range. Current consumption is in the 5,000 kg per year range, and growing quickly. The balance is met from Soviet era stocks. Obviously these will run out at some point, a few years hence.
Scandium can be extracted from a number of sources. Thortveitite and kolbeckite are two minerals which are sufficiently scandium rich for extraction to be potentially economic.There are at least another 800 minerals where Sc is present in small quantities.
It can also be extracted from tantalum residues, tungsten processing wastes, tin slags and a variety of other such industrial waste streams, and it is sometimes ( as with most Chinese production ) recovered from rare earth ores. The US and the Soviets both historically recovered from the red mud of uranium production, although neither do so now. There is also a certain excitement about extraction from Australian nickel laterites. Tests seem to indicate that the Sc comes out in solution along with the Ni and Co as a result of the acid leaching process used. Unfortunately those large companies that are pursuing the process are having problems extracting the Sc economically, and the smaller ones who are most excited by their scandium potential are unlikely to ever open, given the uneconomic size of their nickel deposits.
We have carried out extensive research oursleves into the optimal method of scandium extraction for the future. We are in the process of canvassing potential partners and financiers for the construction of the extraction plant using that optimal method. There is absolutely no technical or engineering reason why scandium cannot be produced in whatever quantity industry may desire, and at about half the current cost.
We would of course be delighted to talk to anyone who wishes to join us in this project.
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