Mining Intelligence and News

Burra (Platina Scandium) Project

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Mine TypeOpen Pit
  • Scandium
  • Nickel
  • Cobalt
  • Platinum
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotThe Burra (Platina Scandium) Project is one of the world’s highest-grade scandium deposits and has potential to be Australia’s first scandium producer with platinum, cobalt and nickel credits.

It will be a small, shallow, open-cut operation with a minimum footprint, and no tailings dam, blasting or extensive water use. This will allow Rio Tinto to consider a full electric operation with renewables.

Currently Rio Tinto updates the feasibility study after the previous owner and works on securing necessary permits and approvals.


Rio Tinto plc 100 % Indirect
Platina Resources Limited has received US$8 million (~A$12.3 million) in cash from the sale of the Platina Scandium Project to a wholly owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto Ltd (Rio Tinto), less a US$1 million warranty retention payment which is re-payable by Rio Tinto after 30 months if there are no warranty breaches.

Platina may also receive future cash payments totalling US$6 million (~A$9.2 million) subject to Rio Tinto achieving project milestones including granting of a Mining Lease.



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Deposit type

  • Laterite


The mineralisation at the Red Heart mine site comprises a laterite profile developed over a Devonian age Alaskan-style intrusive complex that can be divided into a mafic-felsic series (monzonite) and an ultramafic series. The ultramafic series comprises dunite-wehrlite, olivine-pyroxenites and olivine-clinopyroxenite rocks. The relative abundance of nickel, cobalt, scandium and platinum in these ultramafic rocks has been enriched to higher grades in the laterite profile due to either a residual or supergene enrichment processes. The variations in element abundance in the original ultramafic basement rock affect the enriched concentrations in the laterite along with the development of the laterite and any erosion of the laterite profile. The types of laterite-hosted mineralisation identified thus far show strong correlations with certain lithologies, including platinum-copper mineralisation overlying dunite-wehrlite rocks with variable cobalt, nickel and gold content; cobalt-nickel mineralisation with platinum credits associated with the underlying olivine pyroxenites; and elevated chrome and scandium has been noted where dunite-wehrlite lithologies predominate but mainly occur with clinopyroxenite lithologies. The lateralisation process developed in the past over a long period of leaching which removed some elements and concentrated others by residual processes. Movement of water can also result in dissolution and precipitation of some elements by supergene processes. The Red Heart area is relatively flat and supergene enrichment appears to only result in vertical enrichment within the profile as there is no evidence of significant lateral movement or enrichment. Much of the Mineral Resource is covered by alluvial or fill material comprised of quartz gravel, sands and other transported material. Mineralogical analysis performed on various in-situ samples across the mineralisation footprint have verified that scandium ore is hosted within a goethite (15-42%) and hematite (15-40%) matrix. The mineralisation within the laterite profile typically extends down to 30 metres depth from the surface with limited overburden removal required. Mineralisation within the deposit remains open in all directions.



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills


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CommodityUnitsAvg. Annual
Scandium t 40
All production numbers are expressed as oxide.

Operational metrics

Annual ore mining rate 46,600 t *
Annual processing rate 46,600 t *
Stripping / waste ratio 1.9 *
Ore tonnes mined, LOM 2.4 Mt *
* According to 2018 study.

Production Costs

Cash costs Sc2O3 USD 525 / kg *  
Total cash costs Sc2O3 USD 592 / kg *  
All-in sustaining costs (AISC) Sc2O3 USD 634 / kg *  
Assumed price Sc2O3 USD 1,550 / kg *  
* According to 2018 study / presentation.

Project Costs

MetricsUnitsLOM Total
Initial CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Expansion CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Sustaining CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Total CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax NPV @ 8% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax IRR, %  ......  Subscribe
After-tax payback period, years  ......  Subscribe

Required Heavy Mobile Equipment


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Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required May 15, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Dec 13, 2018
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required May 15, 2024

Total WorkforceYear
...... Subscription required 2018


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