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Rio acquires scandium project in NSW

Rio Tinto has entered into a binding agreement to acquire the Platina Scandium Project near Condobolin in central NSW, from Platina Resources for $14 million. Rio described the project in a statement on Friday as “a long life, high-grade scalable resource that could produce up to 40 tonnes per annum of scandium oxide, for an estimated period of 30 years.” Scandium is a rare and versatile mineral produced in small quantities, and considered a critical mineral by the United States, Canada, Australia and many other countries. Its applications include in high-performance aluminium alloys and in energy storage. Rio Tinto currently produces scandium oxide from titanium dioxide production waste streams at Sorel-Tracy in Quebec. It estimates that the Platina Scandium Project would enable it “to more than double its annual scandium production.” The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023.

Recycling fire depot shows dangers of discarding batteries

The ACT Government has concluded an investigation into a fire at the Hume Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) last year, warning that choosing the wrong bin to dispose of household waste can have dire consequences. Council’s Waste Strategy Coordinator, Tim Cook, said. “The investigation found that common household batteries placed in the recycling stream were the cause of a fire that destroyed an entire recycling facility. Batteries of any type, whether from your television remote control, your mobile phone or rechargeable drill can be a fire risk if placed in a household bin.” Cook advised that safe recycling options existed through local recycling centres, library-based Community Recycling Stations, and B-cycle drop-off points found at local shops and supermarkets.

Renewable energy records set

Renewables are breaking energy generation records and driving down wholesale electricity prices, with coal and gas generation continuing to decline, according to the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) latest data. Climate Council Senior Researcher, Dr Carl Tidemann, said: “In the span of just three months we’ve seen more records broken from renewable energy output, and the lowest ever level of emissions recorded by the National Electricity Market for the first quarter of the year. A Climate Council compilation of data from AEMO’s quarterly report shows record average output from rooftop solar causing caused new records for the lowest total electricity consumption from the grid at a given time, total emissions from the National Electricity Market at the lowest levels on record for the first quarter of the year. and coal-fired and gas generation decreased.

MATLAB EXPO 2023 program released

MathWorks has previewed the agenda for MATLAB EXPO 2023, which will be held live across multiple international time zones during May 10–11, 2023. According to a statement from MathWorks, engineers, researchers, educators, and scientists can learn about new technological advancements and trends in eight separate technology areas at the event, with an agenda and registration info available at this link.

New recycled tyre-based safety barrier ready for market, says TSA

Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA) has announced that the T-Lok Rubber Safety Barrier, developed by the University of Melbourne and Saferoads with funding and support from TSA, has been recommended for acceptance by the Austroads Safety Barrier Assessment Panel and is ready to go to market. The product is made using crumb rubber from end-of-life-tyres, Australian designed, developed and built, and one kilometre worth of barriers uses 12 tonnes of recycled rubber (equivalent of 2,000 passenger tyres) according to TSA. The organisation projects that the product could use up to 60,000 (360 tonnes) passenger tyres per year, “provided industry gets behind this innovation and grasps the opportunity to deliver on their recycled materials’ targets.”

Picture: scandium (credit Heinrich Pniok/Wikipedia)

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