Company RUSAL has launched an industrial installation that is capable of producing the most expensive on Earth-metal from the waste
The pilot industrial plant for the production of scandium concentrate is running at the Ural aluminium plant in the Sverdlovsk region. The company intends to produce aluminum-scandium alloys for the aerospace, automotive and rail industries.
Note, rare earth metal, scandium does not occur in nature in a free state exists only in the oxide having the form of a white powder. Until recently, the technique didn't know that metal, it was one of the few "unemployed" elements on the periodic system. Scandium is almost as light as aluminum, but melts at a temperature slightly less than steel. It is one of the most expensive metals on Earth, which are widely used in innovative and high technology, but also as a component in light alloys with high strength and corrosion resistance.
Unique metal will be produced from red mud — waste processing of bauxite, from which intermediate product of aluminum oxide, or alumina, and ultimately aluminium. Disposal of environmentally harmful waste is a big problem for the production of aluminium. However, red mud contains a large amount of oxides of valuable metals. Technology to extract these components eliminate the need for expensive disposal of red mud and create a source of additional profit.
The new plant is able to produce 2.5 tonnes of primary concentrate of scandium oxide. And before the end of the year, RUSAL intends to create pilot plant, which will allow you to get out of concentrate to 500 kg of marketable product with a content of scandium oxide to 99.0%. The cost of such product on the market today ranges from 3 to 5 thousand dollars per kilogram.