Australian mines to develop next-gen aluminium alloys

Australian Mines is seeking to develop new aluminium alloys using scandium sourced from the Sconi project in Queensland.

The company has partnered with Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials for the project, which starts today (October 12) and lasts for nine months.

The project seeks to deliver aluminium alloys from high purity scandium oxide to improve the performance of industrial processes within the energy industry.

It will use machine learning algorithms and Deakin’s expertise in alloy development.

Australian Mines managing director Benjamin Bell said working with Deakin to develop the next generation of aluminium alloys using scandium aligned perfectly with the company’s strategy to maximise the value that could be generated from the output of the Sconi project.

“Scandium has been known to provide significant benefits when added to aluminium but restricted access to a stable, reliable supply has limited its adoption in industrial applications,” he said.

“Australian Mines has an ability to supply high purity scandium oxide when Sconi, at full production, will be a long term, globally significant supplier of high purity scandium as well as battery ready materials to the electric vehicle and energy storage industries.”

Sconi is forecast to have a lifespan of more than 30 years and produce 1.4 million tonnes of nickel sulphate and 200,000 tonnes of cobalt sulphate, with scandium recovery and production of high purity scandium oxide.

Scandium is classified as a critical commodity by the Australian and the United States governments as well as the European Union, according to Bell.

Australian Mines expects Sconi’s financial profile to increase with the supply of the commodity to the energy industry.

The project is backed by a $56,000 funding by Australian Mines and a $50,000 grant from the Australian Government.

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