One of the world’s largest known reserves of high quality thorium (thorium oxide) reserves is located in the United States, in an area known as the Lemhi Pass, which is situated along the Idaho/Montana Border. Various studies were performed to determine the economic impact of thorium utilization in the nuclear industry and the estimated amount of thorium oxide reserves contained in the Lemhi Pass region. The reports confirm that the Lemhi Pass region contains sufficient deposits of high-grade thorium reserves to provide the fuel requirements of the nuclear industry in the United States for several centuries.
Thorium Energy, Inc. owns the proprietary mineral rights to the largest claim in this region, representing what is believed to be one of the single largest privately owned Thorium reserves in the world. The Company's reserves consist of 68 separate resource claims, each consisting of approximately 20 Acres, located in the Lemhi Pass Region, which is situated along the border between Idaho and Montana. Included in the Company's claims are significant mining veins, which contain 600,000 tons of proven thorium oxide reserves. Various estimates indicate additional probable reserves of as much as 1.8 million tons or more of thorium oxide contained within these claims. The Company's claims also include significant deposits of rare earth metals. It is the richest Thorium vein in the U.S., thus over the years since 1950, the property has been explored and investigated by a succession of different companies.
The first major owner was Sawyer Petroleum, then Union Pacific, Tenneco, and finally Idaho Power Company (IPCO). Metallurgy tests conducted in the region estimate that the average mine run grade is approximately 5% or more of thorium oxide (ThO 2). In fact, vein deposits of thorite (ThSiO 4), such as those that occur in the area of the Lemhi Pass, present the highest grade thorium, mineral, and are believed to contain approximately 25 to 63 percent thorium oxide (ThO 2) per ton of raw ore. Thus one ton of thorium ore could potentially yield as much as 500-1,200 lbs. of high grade thorium oxide (ThO 2), as compared with less than one percent of raw Uranium ore that is typically utilizable. The deployment of Lemhi Pass Thorium represents a more economically feasible source of nuclear grade ore than Uranium deposits.