Clean TeQ Holdings has signed a contract in Japan to supply a pilot plant to Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha Ltd (ISK) for the recovery of scandium and other valuable metals at ISK’s Yokkaichi titanium dioxide facility in Japan.

The plant will utilize Clean TeQ’s unique and proprietary Clean-iX(R) technology platform, which is anticipated to provide significant cost improvements and environmental benefits over existing processing routes that rely heavily on solvent extraction.

As a leader in continuous ion exchange technologies with application to water treatment and resource recovery opportunities, Clean TeQ has been working with ISK for more than 24 months under a technology partnership to develop a robust, scalable and environmentally sustainable extraction process.

The pilot plant has been designed to remove trace elements of scandium contained in intermediate process streams used to convert titanium dioxide into paints and pigments. Scandium is an extremely rare metal used in high strength aluminium alloy applications in the aerospace and automotive industries and as an electrolyte in the rapidly burgeoning solid oxide fuel cell market. Scandium is produced as a by-product of mining operations in China, Russia and Ukraine.

The Clean-iX(R) pilot plant will be built in Australia and shipped to Japan in August with a three month operational campaign to commence soon thereafter. Should piloting prove successful Clean TeQ expects consideration of options by ISK for the installation of a commercial-scale plant.

Clean TeQ’s CEO Cory Williams says, “The recovery of scandium is just one of a number of potential Clean TeQ commercial applications with our goal to have similar projects around the world for the recovery of nickel, copper, and other elements.

“The pilot plant with ISK is a key step to allow us to be in a position to share in ongoing revenues from the sale of valuable metals from our technology. Our vision at Clean TeQ is to develop technologies that help industry maximize value from raw materials, eliminate waste and protect our environment.”

The Clean-iX(R) pilot plant is a modular, fully automated system that is a scaled version of a full-scale plant. Data from the plant will confirm the production cost of scandium oxide and allow for multiple process steams to be trialled.

Following piloting Clean TeQ and ISK will review options for full scale development at Yokkaichi and other titanium dioxide process plants in Japan. ISK has produced and refined titanium dioxide for various industrial purposes since 1963.

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