In 2011-2012, Core carried out a series of batch and pilot plant programmes to test and optimise a new solvent extraction (SX) technology for Scandium.

Generating 1000 g of Ultrapure Scandium Oxide

In the second stage pilot, Core constructed and operated a Solvent Extraction (SX) pilot plant, with a specialised process specific design, at our laboratory facilities in Albion, Brisbane. The client supplied 14 000 L of PLS, and the SX pilot operated for 14 days continuously to process this liquor. Staffing consisting of 2 person crews, with 24 hour coverage, was supplied for the pilot. Core undertook all risk assessment, hazard management and staff training responsibilities. The pilot produced 1,500 L of strip liquor which was refined over several iterations to generate 1 kg of ultrapure Scandium Oxide product (>99.99%). Core’s in house analytical laboratory developed new analytical techniques to provide accurate analysis of this high grade product.

A third fully integrated and continuous large scale SX & precipitation circuit was then conducted off site by Core at a facility designated by the client. This pilot treated 19 000 L of liquor over 19 days, with 24 h coverage of 4 person crews. Over 1 000 L of loaded strip liquor was generated, and run continuously through the purification plant. The pilot was run in continuous mode, with barren strip liquor successfully recirculated through the SX plant.

Key to this project’s success were:

  • Core’s professional expertise and technical capacity to construct and commission specialist process equipment.
  • A can do attitude to mobilise equipment, staff and resources to service the pilot plant operation.

  • Open-door policy with the client who was based at Core during the operation.
  • Specialist analytical method development by our assay laboratory.