The Gold Report: At the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention in March, scandium was probably the most talked about metal after gold. Please give us an overview of the scandium market.
Ryan Castilloux: Scandium initially found applications in Soviet aircraft and weaponry during the Cold War. It wasn’t until the 1990s that commercial uses for scandium emerged when a now-defunct Canadian company, Ashurst Technology, together with a Ukrainian partner, harvested scandium from Zhovti Vody, a historic iron-uranium mine in Ukraine. Ashurst conceived a number of novel uses for scandium-aluminum alloys, including baseball bats and bicycle frames. It developed patents for these applications, later licensing them to Easton Sports, now Performance Group Sports Ltd. (PSG:TSX), and others.
Ashurst’s mining operation was short-lived but the commercial uses of scandium that it birthed live on, with a number of others following suit, including the use of scandium-aluminum alloys in golf clubs, ski poles and handgun frames. Since then, scandium has also found its way into electrolyte material in solid oxide fuel cells, an application that fuels a major portion of global scandium demand and will continue to for the foreseeable future.
Scandium is one of the most high-value elements on the periodic table. The value of just a few tonnes of scandium oxide would acquire almost any emerging scandium producer on the market. Projects that contain billions, even hundreds of billions, worth of scandium in the ground are owned by companies with market capitalizations less than $10 million ($10M). Anyone with a bullish outlook on …read more