For Immediate Release
II-VI Incorporated and MYTILINEOS S.A. Demonstrate Transformation of Waste Streams into Eco-Friendly and Economical Sources of Rare Earth Metals
Demonstrated scandium recovery from bauxite residues in industrial waste streams for new aluminum scandium alloys, additive manufacturing wires, and green energy infrastructure.
In conjunction with Earth Day 2021, II‐VI Incorporated (Nasdaq: IIVI) a leader in engineered materials, and MYTILINEOS’ Metallurgy Business Unit, the largest vertically integrated aluminium and alumina plant in the European Union through its subsidiary Aluminium of Greece, today announced the successful demonstration of scandium recovery from bauxite residue at pilot scale. This demonstration was achieved by combing MYTILINEOS bauxite residue processing with II-VI’s patented selective ion recovery (SIR) technology, an eco-friendly process that imparts sustainability benefits to the environment. This demonstration was part of the SCALE project, which received funding from the European Community’s Horizon 2020 Programme.
Scandium is a rare-earth element that is scarcely found in exploitable mineral concentrations and is a key technology enabler in alloys and applications that reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, and strengthen energy security. II-VI’s patented SIR technology, in combination with MYTILINEOS’ bauxite residue processing, will enable the transformation of a major industrial waste material into an economic source of scandium, the most expensive of the rare earths, for a number of energy-efficient applications in aerospace, transportation, green energy, and additive manufacturing.
“This demonstration marks the achievement of another milestone in the validation of our unique SIR process in an industrial environment,” said Steve Rummel, Senior Vice President, Engineered Materials and Laser Optics, II-VI Incorporated. “We partnered and worked closely with MYTILINEOS to install and commission our SIR pilot plant at their aluminum refinery, demonstrating an optimized and commercially viable process for extracting scandium from bauxite residues. II-VI is also actively developing the downstream products and applications for scandium-containing alloys. Securing a steady supply of this important element will be a critical step.”
“High scandium extraction efficiency has been achieved with minimal reagent consumption, while substantially reducing the sizing requirements for downstream purification steps; this presents a pragmatic approach to the recovery of scandium from bauxite residues for the first time,” said Dr. Efthymios Balomenos, Engineer at the Research & Sustainable Development department of MYTILINEOS’ Metallurgy Business Unit and coordinator of the SCALE project. “Bauxite residue represents an untapped source of critical rare-earth elements, so vital for today’s advanced technologies driving so many industries. We are excited about this achievement, which we strongly believe has the potential to pave the way for significant economic and environmental benefits and could be a model for the rare-earth industry.”