Rio Tinto started operations at a new commercial-scale demonstration plant to produce high-quality scandium oxide at its Rio Tinto Fer et Titane (RTFT) metallurgical complex in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec. Six employees have been hired to operate the plant, which uses a process developed by RTFT to extract high-purity scandium oxide from the waste streams of titanium dioxide production without the need for any additional mining. According to Rio Tinto, customers will benefit from a North American supply of scandium oxide as an additive to produce high-performance alloys. Commissioning work has started as production ramps up to a capacity of 3 metric tons of scandium oxide per year.
The $6 million project was completed less than six months after the start of construction, and RTFT is considering the potential for further investments to add additional modules in line with market demand.