Scandium International Covering Bases with Patents

Critical Metals

Scandium International announced a move to protect its intellectual property, reporting that it has filed five patent applications related to scandium.

Scandium International Mining (TSX:SCY) is one of the first companies out there to be primarily focused on scandium, but that doesn’t mean it’s taking that advantage lightly. On Tuesday, the company announced a move to protect its intellectual property for the venture, reporting that it has filed five patent applications related to scandium.

Four of the five patents relate to the recovery of scandium from laterite, while one deals with downstream product design. The patents for the recovery of scandium cover unique flowsheet designs for Scandium International’s Nyngan project in New South Wales, Australia.

While the company admits in Tuesday’s release that many of the basic design elements in the Nyngan flowsheet “are commonly applied to other specialty metals,” such as nickel, it also points out that those methods haven’t been commonly used for scandium extraction. Overall, it suggests that there are “enough intended and required operational differences” to warrant patent protection.

“These patent applications represent an important step in securing ownership and rights to the technical understanding of scandium recovery that we have invested in for several years,” said Scandium International CEO George Putnam in a statement. “The filings will also allow us to work openly with an independent engineering firm to develop the best feasibility study product, and to configure the most efficient process flowsheet for our Nyngan Project, while maintaining control over our unique process designs.”

Investors appear to agree, as Scandium International’s share price gained roughly 15 percent to close at 11 cents on Tuesday. Titles for the patent applications include:

  1. “Systems and methodologies for recovering scandium values from mixed ion solutions”
  2. “Systems and methodologies for direct acid leaching of scandium bearing laterite ores”
  3. “Solvent extraction of scandium from leach solutions”
  4. “Systems and processes for recovering scandium values from laterite ores”
  5. “Scandium-containing master alloys and method for making the same”

Explaining a bit further, Edward Dickinson, CFO of Scandium International, stated that the company expects “others to follow” in the scandium space once the Nyngan project is brought to production. In that light, taking measures to protect its intellectual property rights seems to makes sense.

As for the patent involving downstream product design, Dickinson explained that while creating alloys is not Scandium International’s main focus, the company does have what it thinks is strategic knowledge that could be useful on that front. Its focus will be on the production of scandium oxide at Nyngan, and that material will then go to a master alloy manufacturer to make other products.

“We are not focused on taking that next step [in production], but we do have what we think are unique intellectual property components associated with the downstream processing,” said Dickinson.

In other words, the company is staying focused on developing Nyngan — and according to the CFO, everything is moving ahead on schedule. The company is targeting completion of a definitive feasibility study in 2015 and expects construction to start in 2016 with production start up in 2017.

Results of a preliminary economic assessment were released for the project back in October, indicating a capital cost estimate of US$77.4 million, a constant-dollar net present value of US$175 million and a constant-dollar internal rate of return of 40.6 percent. Certainly, those who agree with John Kaiser’s positive take on the scandium space will be watching for updates from the company.

At close of day on Wednesday, shares of Scandium International were trading at $0.10. The company’s share price has gained about 340 percent, or 9 cents, over the past year.


Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 

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