Scandium International Mining Corp. [SCY-TSX, SCYYF-OTC] said Thursday it has filed a final patent application with the U.S. Patent Office, in relation to the manufacture of high-purity alumina (HPA) products.
It said the patent application outlines methods, chemistries, processes, and flowsheet design for the manufacture of an HPA product, grading 4N= purity 99.9% or better), from either aluminum-containing solution feedstocks, alumina powders, or alumina precursor feedstocks.
This application represents a final submission for review and consideration of an award of acceptance and grant.
Scandium International shares declined on the news, falling 4.2% or $0.01 to 23 cents on trading volume of 484,770. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of 35 cents and $0.075.
Scandium International’s flagship asset is the Nyngan scandium project. It is located 500 kilometres northwest of Sydney, 25 kilometres west of the town of Nyngan, and is 100% owned by Scandium International and its Australian subsidiary, EMC Metals Australia Pty. Ltd.
Outside existing by-product production in Russia and China, the Nyngan project is the most advanced scandium development opportunity globally. With initial off-take contracts in place, the company has said Nyngan is expected to be the world’s first scandium-only mine development project.
Scandium is a soft, silver metallic element. It can be applied across the high-end range of existing aluminum alloys to produce significant performance gains. For example, adding scandium to aluminum adds considerable strength, retains weldability, and preserves notch strength and corrosion resistance in alloys.
The company recently filed a provisional patent application with the U.S. Patent Office for the use of various applications of scandium in lithium-ion batteries.
The patent application covers a number of scandium enhancements, including doping potential for both anodes and cathodes, and for solid electrolytes, the company said.
However, the company has said it intends to add a series of related metal recovery business opportunities alongside the Nyngan Scandium Project, which has otherwise been Scandium International’s primary project and product focus.
This change reflects a marketplace priority for production of identified critical metals from new, local sources. This strategy reflects the company’s desire to build a suite of projects that can deliver products tailored to lithium-ion battery markets, and specifically to battery components.
“High purity alumina represents a new product target for Scandium International, although one that has been under consideration by the company for several years,” it said in a press release. “Scandium International’s recent focus on critical metals recovery from copper raffinates, and other acidic processing solutions in mining applications, raised the prospect of also extracting aluminum from these same solutions,” the company added.
This opportunity formed the basis of a separate provisional HPA patent in May 2020, with recovery and purification concepts tailored to high purity HPA product.