Ucore Rare Metals (TSXV:UCU) reported that it has separated scandium from a pregnant leach solution at its SuperLig One Pilot Plant. Material for the solution was derived from Ucore’s Bokan-Dotson Ridge project in Alaska.
As quoted in the press release:
Since announcement of the completion of SuperLig® certifications, PLS analysis, automation control verification, water testing, process flow testing of the Plant, and REE separation, as a group, from the Gangue Metals, the SuperLig®-One Plant has achieved the following results:
- Scandium Separation from the Group of REE – Scandium has been separated at the >99% level from the other REE, leaving essentially no Sc in the PLS. This separation replicates prior lab-scale work. The purified group of REE originally present in the PLS, absent the Sc, is now available for further separations. Early, rapid, and effective separation of the Sc makes this metal available without the need to separate it sequentially from the REE matrix. Efficient separation of Sc early in the processing flowsheet distinguishes MRT from other, less selective technologies, such as solvent extraction and ion exchange (“Legacy Separation Technologies”).
- Scandium Purity – The purity of the recovered Sc is >99% versus the other REE. The purpose of the Sc separation was to remove it completely from the PLS without removing any of the other REE in the process. The successful completion of this objective preserves the value of the PLS as it advances to subsequent separation circuits.
- Verification of Results and Confirmation of Scale-up Parameters – The results have been verified analytically at IBC using inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy (“ICP”). The results obtained are consistent with the previous lab-scale test work performed at IBC, confirming that the SuperLig®-One Plant is scaling as expected.
Ucore president and CEO, Jim McKenzie, said:
Scandium is an increasingly high-profile and extremely high-value technology metal. Much like lithium, Sc is considered a clean-technology metal with enormous development potential. In turn, the scandium industry has seen a significant number of resource development start-ups recently, primarily on the Australian and Canadian exchanges. The rate of growth in scandium-centric enterprises evidences the increasing demand for this remarkable metal. Each of these new enterprises will require a technology capable of separating Sc from often complex metallurgical environments. The SuperLig® – Sc product is just such a tool, rendering near-quantitative purity, potentially faster and more efficiently than legacy SX technologies.