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There’s an unexpected benefit from the boom in battery metals mining — it’s going to boost production of scandium, an obscure element whose long-held promise to transform manufacturing of planes and cars has been stalled by a lack of supply.

The silver-white metal, found in higher concentrations in moon rocks than on Earth, can be added to aluminum to make alloys that are lighter, stronger and more malleable. These can dramatically reduce the weight of parts for aircraft, cars or ships and help deliver savings on fuel costs.

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