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Australian Mines receives R&D tax rebate for scandium oxide process flowsheet development

The company has developed a flowsheet that results in production of a scandium oxide of purity levels in excess of 99.9%.

Truck loaded with bulk sample bags from Sconi
Bulk sample bags of ore from Sconi ahead of transport to the demonstration plant.

Australian Mines Limited’s (ASX:AUZ) (FRA:MJH) (OTCMKTS:AMSLF) research and development (R&D) work aimed at developing a scandium oxide process flowsheet has seen it receive an R&D tax rebate from the Commonwealth Government.

A $295,765 rebate has been received for the company’s R&D expenditure in the 2016-17 financial year.

The expenditure relates specifically to development work completed at a high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) and solvent extraction (SX) demonstration plant in Perth, in conjunction with Simulus Group’s laboratories.

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Australian Mines managing director Benjamin Bell said, “In addition to representing a small boost to our balance sheet, I believe the Commonwealth Government’s continued incentive program has a real impact on encouraging Australian exploration and mining companies to invest in research and development of benefit to Australia.”

The company developed a demonstration plant to hone the processing flowsheet for ore to be mined from its Sconi Cobalt-Nickel-Scandium Project in northern Queensland.

It aims to produce nickel sulphate, cobalt sulphate and scandium oxide from the ore.

Breakthrough scandium oxide work

Scandium oxide in particular, given its relative scarcity and the limited processing information available on a worldwide basis, does not have a well-known process flow sheet.

Scandium oxide produced from the Sconi project in Queensland.

The company has used the work conducted to develop a process flowsheet that has produced scandium oxide of purity levels in excess of 99.9%.

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Bell said, “The operation of the demonstration plant has played a critical role for Australian Mines as it has enabled optimisation of the extraction process for the bankable feasibility study on the Sconi project.

“The processing tests have significantly improved equipment reliability, recovery and purity levels of the nickel, cobalt and scandium products.”

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R&D is a critical component of Australian Mines’ current and future plans as demonstrated by a partnership with United Kingdom-based technology company Metalysis.

This is aimed at supporting research and development around a solid-state process to produce a low-cost yet superior aluminium-scandium alloy for potential use by the automotive and aerospace industries.

The R&D tax incentive is a program run by the Australian Commonwealth Government to encourage companies to engage in R&D benefiting Australia, by providing a tax offset for eligible R&D activities.

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