Scandium can be found in the terrestrial crust in a concentration of about 5 ppm being as abundant as beryllium, or some rare-earths. In spite of this, it is quite dispersed, occurring in small concentrations in minerals as wolframite, wiikite and cassitherite, and can be detected in most of the soils.

Scandium is chemically similar to the rare-earths but the sizes of its ions compete with those of aluminum, magnesium, hafnium and zirconium, so there are no great amounts of the element in the rare-earths ores.

In 1911, Schetelig, in Norway, discovered a new mineral, that he called tortveitite, contained the amazing amount of 30 to 40% of ScO2. This mineral was also found later, in Madagascar. The tortveitite occurs in very small amounts in the form of prismatic residual crystals resultant of pegmatite veins erosion as those of the Norwegian black uraninite.

It is also possible to obtain scandium through the processing of uranium ores, which contain small concentrations of the element.