By Rhiannon Hoyle

 

Rio Tinto PLC said it has agreed to buy a scandium project in Australia's New South Wales state for $14 million, an acquisition that could more than double the miner's annual production of the critical mineral.

The world's second-biggest miner by market value said it has signed a binding agreement with Platina Resources Ltd. to acquire the Platina Scandium Project, which it said is a long life, high-grade deposit that could produce up to 40 metric tons of scandium oxide annually for roughly three decades.

Scandium is used to strengthen aluminum, and to improve the performance of fuel cells, and is considered a critical mineral in a number of countries. Rio Tinto, which currently produces scandium oxide from titanium-dioxide production waste at operations in Quebec, said the deal "aligns with Rio Tinto's strategic goal to grow in materials essential for the low-carbon transition."

 

Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at rhiannon.hoyle@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 27, 2023 20:18 ET (00:18 GMT)

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