Thorium Background/Reserve info:
One of the world’s largest known resources and reserves of high quality thorium (minable as thorium oxide) is located in the United States, in an area known as the Lemhi Pass, which is situated along the Idaho/Montana Border. Thorium Energy, Inc. controls the proprietary mineral rights to multiple claims in this region, representing what is believed to be one of the largest, privately controlled, thorium deposits in the world.
The recently updated U.S.G.S. Thorium Minerals Yearbook released in October 2008 contains revised data indicating a sharp increase in stated United States reserves to 915,000 tons of thorium existing on properties currently held by Thorium Energy, Inc. This is a substantial increase over the previously published U.S.G.S. estimate of 160,000 tons for the entire U.S. (as stated in the previous U.S.G.S. Mineral Commodity Summaries published earlier in 2008).
Thorium Energy, Inc. believes that its existing deposits could be as much as three times larger than the 915,000 tons that have been geologically proven on its properties. However, the previously identified, economically extractable and accessible deposits of high grade thorium ores are large enough to supply the power needs of the entire U.S. for centuries through thorium-based nuclear reactors.
The company is not aware of any larger, documented reserves of high-grade thorium ores. According to the current USGS statistics, the next largest estimates of thorium ore reserves are in Australia with 300,000 metric tons and India with 290,000 metric tons; however, these foreign reserves are not considered to be as richly concentrated or as high of a grade, as contained in Thorium Energy, Inc.’s holdings. Metallurgical sampling conducted on the Thorium Energy, Inc., properties point to extensive high grade ore bodies of thorium reported as thorite (thorium dioxide) and thorianite (thorium silicate). Grab samples and drill cores, selected and taken by professional geologists, indicate a field that may be one of the world’s largest deposits of accessible thorium minerals with a potential to yield far higher production levels of thorium than, for example, an equivalent sized uranium mine would yield of uranium.
Thorium provides a nuclear fuel with more advantages, attributes, and public/political acceptable properties than plutonium or uranium used alone. Although long recognized as an alternative to uranium, the characteristics of thorium have recently received increased global attention as a safer, greener fuel which, when added to enhance a traditional uranium-based nuclear reaction, produces significantly less waste than uranium, if used alone. Thorium-based fueled reactors are highly resistant to weapons proliferation. Thorium-based fuels can also be used in several proven reactor types, through known and tested modifications in the design of the plant and equipment and, in fact, would enhance such a facility's overall safety. Thus, a large measure of our domestic future energy needs could be provided by nuclear energy, enhanced by thorium.
Thorium Legislative Discussion:
In 2008, Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), introduced legislation in the Senate to amend the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 and to provide for thorium fuel cycle nuclear power generation in the United States. The bill would regulate domestic thorium nuclear power generation and oversee possible demonstration projects of thorium nuclear fuel assemblies. In introducing the legislation, Hatch said, “Our nation has focused mostly on mixed oxide nuclear fuel cycles, and our regulatory structure reflects that. With the growing interest in thorium nuclear power in the world and in the U.S., it’s time we made sure our government has a regulatory infrastructure in place to accommodate this new generation of nuclear power.” Hatch and Reid are expected to reintroduce the legislation for consideration by the 111th Congress later this year. In addition, important amendments specific to thorium have been included by Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) in the House versions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2009 and the landmark American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 to:
· Require that the U.S. Navy formally design and determine the suitability of thorium fueled reactors in the design of future shipboard propulsion systems; and
· Require the Secretary of Energy to issue a report on the state of the art and feasibility of thorium fueled reactors by Sept. 2011, which is compatible with the IAEA’s report on the development of thorium fueled reactors.
This would mean that the DoE would have to undertake a methodical study of thorium fuel and reactor designs immediately. The strategic longer term importance of United States control over the largest and richest supply of thorium in the world cannot be overstated.
Thorium Energy, Inc’s asset will substantially increase in value as new thorium powered nuclear plants are developed and brought on stream around the world.
Rare Earth Metals Background:
A large, readily extractable supply of rare earths mined in the United States would represent a critical economic and strategic asset with a ready market. Thorium Energy, Inc’s mineral deposits contain quantities of gold in conjunction with minable and substantial quantities of commercial grade rare earth elements coexisting with the thorium deposits. Rare earths represent a particularly compelling and highly predictable commercial opportunity for the company. This is viewed as a near term source of revenue for Thorium Energy, Inc which could be potentially lucrative as well as capable of providing funds and leverage for the extraction and marketing of the thorium.
Rare Earth Metals Applications:
· Cerium; Used in automotive emission control “catalytic converters” and in the chemical and oil industries as an oxidation and cracking catalyst also used in the manufacture of glass, paint and ceramic products.
· Lanthanum; The critical material for the manufacturing of nickel metal hydride rechargeable batteries; universally used today in mass produced hybrid automobiles such as the Toyota Prius. Lanthanum is also used in fluid cracking catalysts for processing heavy crude oils and/or tar sands and the production of glass and ceramics.
· Neodymium; The critical material for modern high strength light weight permanent magnets necessary for the electric motors for electric cars and the generators for wind powered turbine production of electricity
· Samarium; Used in the production of magnets, lighting products and neutron absorbers.
· Europium; The critical material for the red color in all modern display applications such as television and digital projectors.
· Gadolinium; Used in electronics, for magnetic refrigeration (no moving parts or dangerous gases), and acts as an alloy agent.
· Yttrium; Used in CRT production, lasers and semi conductors.
New uses for rare earths as technology metals have grown exponentially during the last twenty-five years. Innovations in the automotive, oil, and electronics industries have generated applications for rare earths which are critical and irreplaceable. The automotive industry demands substantial quantities of neodymium in neodymium iron boron permanent magnet alloys. These magnets were developed for the automotive industry in order to shrink the size and weight of small electric motors while maintaining their power rating, thus reducing weight and unwanted bulges in car design. Magnets containing neodymium are also part of the mechanism that generates electric power in wind turbines.
Rare Earth Metals Market Discussion:
The projected proliferation of new wind farms over the next 10 years will add to the stress on the available supply of neodymium. Annual Neodymium demand for all uses is about 22,350 metric tons, of which 20,000 metric tons is directed toward the existing magnet sector. Demand for neodymium by 2014 is projected to be 36,500 metric tons, of which 34,500 metric tons is for magnets. Supply of neodymium in 2014 is estimated at 36,000 metric tons, which includes anticipated contributions from properties that have not yet been brought on stream. The nickel metal hydride battery, invented in the 1980s, also contains large amounts of rare earths. The rechargeable batteries in cell phones have significant rare earth element (REE) content and each Toyota Prius hybrid car contains over 44 lbs. of rare earths (for batteries and electric motors).
The critical metal for the production of the rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery is the rare earth metal lanthanum, which makes up about 1/3 of the total of all rare earths mined today, or 40,000 metric tons last year. The increasing production of hybrid automobiles by Toyota, Honda, and Ford has already strained the existing supply to the breaking point. To meet their stated mass production goals the OEM automotive industry must invest in the expansion of the production of the rare earth metals. In order for these end-users to minimize their country’s risk of depending on China it will be necessary for them to invest in rare earth mining in politically stable, rule-of-law, countries such as the USA.
Thorium Energy, Inc. is ideally suited to be the recipient of such investment. Within the U.S. defense establishment, rare earth elements are particularly critical ingredients in smart bombs, guided missiles and other precision guided munitions. A large body of the USA's highest technology and most costly conventional armaments are dependent for its entire supply of certain critical REE materials on the People’s Republic of China. Replacement by U.S. sources can provide opportunities both financial and political. World wide demand for all rare earths is estimated today (2009) to be more than 130,000 metric tons per annum; at this rate demand is now outstripping supply.
The PRC is the principal driver for the continuing reduction of rare earths export allocations. Recent alarming announcements from China indicate that it may immediately cut off the export of the heavy rare earths altogether (amounting to over 95% of the available supply, as of 2009) and eliminate them from their next five-year economic program (2010-2015). Domestic American production from Mountain Pass, California was more than 20,000 metric tons per annum at its peak. This source, which was the only producing mine in North America, ceased production in 2002.
Rare Earth Metals Legislative Discussion:
Recent congressional actions highlight the United States Government’s growing concern over the worldwide availability of rare earth materials necessary to support both the renewable energy and defense sectors. Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) have both included amendments in the Fiscal Year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act requiring a government assessment of the availability of rare earth materials to support industry and the defense market. These studies will culminate with a report that proposes a strategy for ensuring a long-term domestic supply of rare earth materials, a report Thorium Energy believes will spur increased interest in the domestic market.
Rare Earth Metals Competition Discussion:
Currently, there is no Rare Earth Elements production taking place in North America., or anywhere of significance outside of China or not under Chinese economic control. This is due to the fact that Chinese mining and trading companies have recently bought controlling interests in two Australian mining operations each about to commence production of rare earth ores. This action effectively removed the Australian ores from the world market and targeted them for the burgeoning Chinese domestic market. Chinese domestic demand for rare earth elements could easily equal Chinese production projected for 2012. China has been anticipating this event for the last five years by steadily reducing the allocations of rare earth metals for export and by raising the export duty to a point where they can set the minimum price for rare earths. The purpose of this stratagem is to force foreign producers of rare earth based technologies to move their production to China, thereby creating jobs in China and bringing foreign technologies as payment for the opportunity.
Rare Earth Metals Summary:
Chinese controlled REE prices are expected to continue to rise dramatically. The Australian acquisitions by the Chinese may enable China to meet its projected domestic shortfall by 2014-15, but will also insure that without new production in North America the world will be cut off from any supplies of rare earths by 2014 at the latest. The only new North American resources and reserves of rare earths are currently being developed in Canada. A movement to reopen a California mine shut down by Chinese predatory pricing 15 years ago has been halted by regulatory concerns. Mining operations set to start up in Australia have, for the reasons outlined above, been removed from consideration as supply sources for non Chinese customers. Thus, the existing supply/demand situation augurs well for Thorium Energy, Inc.
It is important to note that the USGS has now recognized Thorium Energy’s deposits in the Lemhi Pass district of Idaho and Montana as one of only four proven substantial deposits of REE’s in the world outside of mainland China and Chinese control. Further it has been noted that Thorium Energy’s REE deposits show high levels of neodymium, which is perhaps the most critical metal on the technology horizon and without which there will be no wind power, electric vehicles, or computer hard drives.
For More Information, Contact:
Thorium Energy, Inc:19 East, 200 South, Suite 1080 ~ Salt Lake city, Utah 84111 USA http://www.thoriumenergy.com/
Ed Cowle: Phone: USA 1.914. 713.3129 ~ Email:
Jack Lifton: Phone: USA 1.248. 739. 1729 ~ Email: