Alu-Scandium: Innovation At Work for the Environment

Photo courtesy of AMAERO

In 2019, Rio Tinto Fer et Titane (RTFT), in partnership with Mélanie Saucier and Paul Rometsch from the Arvida Research and Development Centre (ARDC), developed a brand-new alloy with unique properties using scandium and aluminium from Quebec. This innovation reflects Rio Tinto’s ongoing commitment to embracing its role as an industry leader in responsible aluminium production, while continuing to develop specialised alloys.

Joseph Langlais, Project Manager at Rio Tinto’s Regional Economic Development Office, said, “This new cutting-edge metal, derived from reclaimed scandium-rich tailings, makes it possible to create a more efficient and environmentally responsible aluminium alloy. This master alloy (Al-2%Sc) with a high concentration of scandium can also be used to develop or modify different families of alloys. Adding scandium to these alloys will endow them with highly beneficial and superior mechanical and physical properties.”

The industrial demonstration of this value-added alloy will take place at Dubuc Works, and the main contributions will be provided by Sébastien Duperré, Pascal-André Boudreau and the production team. Thanks to the involvement and financial support of the Regional Economic Development (RED) Office, the teams were able to determine the optimal operating parameters for industrial-scale production. Also worthy of note is the outstanding teamwork of all the RTFT and RTA stakeholders with regard to research and development, operations and commercial support.

The Quebec Aluminium-Scandium Challenge

With the Quebec Aluminium-Scandium Challenge, Rio Tinto, in partnership with AluQuébec and the Réseau de la transformation métallique du Québec (RTMQ), aims to promote innovation and encourage Quebec companies to develop new applications for aluminium-scandium alloys. Ingenuity and creativity are key to winning this competition, which is open to all Quebec innovators. At the end of the contest, three finalists will be selected, and each will be awarded $25,000. The ultimate winner may receive up to $100,000 to support his or her development work and confirm the feasibility and potential marketability of the application. Attention future innovators: the registration deadline is 29 October 2021!

As a complement to this challenge, a webinar organized by AluQuébec and presented by Guillem Vachon from RTFT was held on 8 September. Participants were able to learn more about the benefits of scandium in aluminium alloys through various application examples. It was a great opportunity to understand how this important alloy is developed and to appreciate its impact and efficiency for existing alloys. To learn more about the Quebec aluminium-scandium challenge, visit the website