Scandium gets its first independent conference this year

Scandium gets its first independent conference this year

The 1st International Scandium Symposium was held in Las Vegas, following the rare earths industry conference.

Blue View

Several rare earths delegates remained on to learn about scandium. The element headlined this year, following the commissioning of North America’s first scandium production. Rio Tinto has put Canada on the map of scandium producers and presented at the symposium, highlighting a positive growth potential for the element.

Project Blue was invited to present the details of the scandium market and showed that solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) have underpinned the strong growth in demand since 2015. The aerospace industry is now the second-largest application for scandium, where the element is alloyed to aluminium for improved performance. Using scandium allows for significant light-weighting, which is where the element gets a potential piece of the energy transition pie. New projects looking to enter the scandium market are jumping on the lightweighting aspects of scandium and potential use in electric vehicles (EVs) to support improved battery-range statistics.

With the aerospace industry still on the road to recovery following two significant shocks since 2019, demand upside continues not only from potential growth in new applications. But the big question is if there is enough demand to warrant a significant increase in supply of this niche metal. Rio Tinto has announced a significant ramp-up in supply, targeting SOFCs and sporting goods, and it has the potential to ramp up further beyond announced capacities depending on market developments.

While in the rare earth industry the supply chains outside of China are finding ways to catch up, the question was posed if scandium will follow suit, or if the industry can learn from the mistakes of its cousin and be ahead of downstream developments.

  • 24 Oct 2022
  • Canada
  • China
  • USA
  • Rio Tinto
  • Scandium
  • ICT
  • Steel & Alloys

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