For tech metals and water treatment company Clean TeQ Holdings (ASX:CLQ), the main focus in recent years has been on funding construction at its Sunrise nickel-cobalt project in NSW.

But the company announced a deal of a different kind this morning, in the form of a binding 10-year offtake agreement with US aerospace company Relativity Space Inc.

Under the terms of the deal, Clean TeQ will supply scandium oxide to Relativity Space once production commences at Sunrise, with annual volumes to be determined by the buyer.

The two sides have negotiated a “fixed price for scandium supplied pursuant to the heads of agreement”, which in turn can be terminated by Relativity Space with notice, or by Clean TeQ if minimum purchase volumes aren’t met.

In addition, both companies will collaborate more closely in the development of scandium-containing alloys for Relativity Space’s “patented Stargate 3D printing process”, Clean TeQ said.

Clean TeQ shares got a boost in morning trade to 20c, but the stock is still well off its 2018 highs above 70c as it continues with efforts to bring the Sunrise project to the development stage.


Long-term vision

Strategically, the company said its goal was to develop use-cases for scandium, which it could then convert into sales once production commences.

Clean TeQ said the Sunrise project contained one of the “highest-grade scandium deposits ever discovered”, with potential sales opportunities in industries such as aerospace and automotive manufacturers that use lightweight aluminium alloys in production.

Los Angeles-headquartered Relativity Space is a private aerospace company that builds Aeon engines for commercial orbital launch services. It’s also in the process of developing Terran 1, “the world’s first 3D printed space launch rocket”.

The company said its Stargate factory used data-driven 3D printing technology to optimise manufacturing processes and speed up production times.

“Scandium alloys are a key part of being able to combine 3D printing with the structural needs of spaceflight,” Relativity Space co-founder Jordan Noone said.

“We are looking forward to working with Clean TeQ to continue our work in revolutionising aerospace manufacturing.”