Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Aug 31, 2009 12:46 pm 
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California mine digs in for 'green' gold rush

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The future of wind farms and hybrid cars may well hinge on what happens to a 55-acre (22.3-hectare) hole in the ground at the edge of California's high desert. The open-pit mine at Mountain Pass, California, holds the world's richest proven reserve of "rare earth" metals, a family of minerals vital to producing the powerful, lightweight magnets used in the engines of Toyota Motor Corp's (7203.T) Prius and other hybrid vehicles as well as generators in wind turbines.
...
The mine is further blessed with negligible traces of uranium and thorium -- two radioactive elements often found together with rare earths that can make recovery of them more costly.


Thorium is considered an expensive-to-dispose "waste product" in most rare-earth mining. Little do they know...


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PostPosted: Aug 31, 2009 7:50 pm 
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As hybrid cars gobble rare metals, shortage looms

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Worldwide demand for rare earths, covering 15 entries on the periodic table of elements, is expected to exceed supply by some 40,000 tonnes annually in several years unless major new production sources are developed. One promising U.S. source is a rare earths mine slated to reopen in California by 2012.


How ironic if the world's appetite for rare-earths, ostensibly to build "green" powerplants, provides us with a freshly separated source of thorium.


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PostPosted: Aug 31, 2009 8:04 pm 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
California mine digs in for 'green' gold rush

Quote:
The future of wind farms and hybrid cars may well hinge on what happens to a 55-acre (22.3-hectare) hole in the ground at the edge of California's high desert. The open-pit mine at Mountain Pass, California, holds the world's richest proven reserve of "rare earth" metals, a family of minerals vital to producing the powerful, lightweight magnets used in the engines of Toyota Motor Corp's (7203.T) Prius and other hybrid vehicles as well as generators in wind turbines.
...
The mine is further blessed with negligible traces of uranium and thorium -- two radioactive elements often found together with rare earths that can make recovery of them more costly.


Thorium is considered an expensive-to-dispose "waste product" in most rare-earth mining. Little do they know...

Current source of Thorium for nuclear research in India is such 'Waste' from Bharat Rare Earths. The same was earlier exported.


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PostPosted: Sep 04, 2009 11:41 am 
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Interest in rare earths stimulated by concerns over possible Chinese export curbs

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The mine is believed to have almost 30 000 t of recoverable rare earth metals, and can also produce thorium – indeed, it was origi- nally operated by Anglo American from 1952 to 1963 as a thorium mine. The prop- erty is permitted for mining until 2012 but the mining rights have to be converted from old order to new order and the application for this was submitted in April. The feasi- bility study is currently being updated.


I have a feeling that the global demand for rare-earths will solve any need for us to mine for thorium anytime in the next few hundred years.

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RARE EARTH OXIDES: clockwise from top centre: praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium, and gadolinium


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PostPosted: Sep 04, 2009 8:27 pm 
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Thorium Energy, Inc. has also discussed the rare earth oxides in their Thorium claims.

The Last Chance thorium vein located in the Lemhi Pass is held under claim by Thorium Energy Inc. The Last Chance vein is reported to be the most significant thorium deposit in the Lemhi Pass and it is also the richest thorium vein deposit in the United States. It has been reported to contain an average concentration of thorium oxide, ThO2 of 0.39 % (7.8 lb. /ton) and rare earth oxide, REO of 0.33 % (6.5 lbs. /ton).

http://www.thoriumenergy.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19&Itemid=37


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PostPosted: Sep 04, 2009 8:41 pm 
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The interesting thing, of course, is that the so called "rare earths" (lanthanides) are major fission products.

Reactors shut down before their fuel is consumed because of samarium poisoning.

Neodymium and Praesodymium are very prominent fission products, along with europium.

As they say, LMAO.


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PostPosted: Sep 04, 2009 11:09 pm 
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Fission products include:-
1. Highly radioactive Sr90 and Cs137, industrial radiation sources and possible replacements for Pu238 as source of energy for thermoelectric generators.
2. Neutrons poisons, industrially important rare earth metals.
3, Base metals, important industrial catalysts.
4. Long life radioactive products, actinides useful as nuclear fuels.
"Collectively condemned as dangerous long lived radioactive wastes". It is time for nuclear chemists to assert themselves!
Quote from the oil drum
http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/5677
Red Book 2007 edition, one finds two precise, but inconsistent, numbers for the amount of extracted uranium. The uranium mined up to the end of 2006 is given as 2,234,083 tons in chapter 1c (Table 19, page 39) and as 2,325,000 tons in chapter 2c (page 74), about 90,000 tons higher.
More than 99% of this or more than two million tons would be stored as depleted uranium or spent fuel or recovered uranium. If molten chloride breeder reactors are devised, this is such an inexhaustible source of fuel that other fuels can be relegated to niche alternatives giving the world permanent energy security. Even thorium can be used to spice up the thermal reactors for long fuel life.


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PostPosted: Oct 07, 2009 10:49 am 
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Forbes: The Rare Earth Metal's Shortage

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The ore body is situated on the Hearne Channel of the Great Slave Lake (one of the ten largest and 6th deepest lakes in the world) it is easily accessible by barge. Avalon’s CEO Don Bubar has assembled a team of experienced and dedicated employees. I counted 164 drill holes in the ore body which extends over 10,500 acres. Get the picture? This ore body will be developed because a rare earth deposit is, in Avalon’s grade and configuration, rarer than rare. The ore body contains 61.1 million tonnes at a grade of 2.05%. An NI 43-101 instrument (required Canadian certification) has been completed detailing and verifying the grade and tonnage. An important advantage of the Thor Lake ore body is that it contains the valuable and scarce heavy rare earth elements.


More evidence that rare-earth mining will supply all the thorium we could ever want.


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PostPosted: Oct 07, 2009 7:51 pm 
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Indian Rare Earths Limited is the producer of Thorium and Rare Earths in India.
http://www.irel.gov.in/scripts/products.asp
The "Waste" from rare earth production is rich in thorium and is used for thoria production.


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PostPosted: Oct 07, 2009 8:22 pm 
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Were there any interesting results from the conference on rare earth metals in Inner Mongolia?


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PostPosted: Nov 13, 2009 5:29 am 
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If DOE were to build a rare earths processing plant, such as some in the industry have advocated, just what kind of process is that? In theory, one could take some of the excess buildings at the INL and do that but you would have to have an immediate use of the thorium. Otherwise, it would be considered a nuclear waste form.

What processes do they use to process out the rare earths?


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PostPosted: Nov 13, 2009 6:28 am 
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Ida-Russkie wrote:
What processes do they use to process out the rare earths?


Although various processes are available depending on the input ores, ion exchange, molten-salt or metallothermic reduction are the techniques generally employed for the separation and refining of rare earths. These are followed by zone refining, electrowinning, or solid-state electrotransport for finishing to whatever level of purity required.


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PostPosted: Nov 14, 2009 11:55 pm 
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http://www.irel.gov.in/scripts/Mining_Mineral.asp
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The heavy mineral rich sand feed either in the form of beach washings or dredge concentrate is subjected to final concentration in a facility provided with a host of spirals to enrich the feed with 97-98% heavy minerals. Such upgraded material is next dried in a fluid bed drier to take on the separation of individual minerals/ores by taking advantage of the difference in their electrical, magnetic properties as well as specific gravity.

Magnetic and gravity separation are used to produce different products from rare earth ore. 3.5N HCl is used to dissolve the rare earths to free them from Thorium and Uranium which are insoluble in the acid. Thorium is a waste product.


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PostPosted: Jan 01, 2010 11:01 pm 
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Concern as China clamps down on rare earth exports

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China, whose mines account for 97 per cent of global supplies, is trying to ensure that all raw REE materials are processed within its borders. During the past seven years it has reduced by 40 per cent the amount of rare earths available for export.


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PostPosted: Jan 02, 2010 2:09 am 
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If we power the civilization exclusively on LFTR, we would need some 7,000 tonnes of Thorium a year. I was trying to figure out how much Thorium do we "already have" due to RE mining, so I asked our expert Jim Kennedy. Here is his reply (which I wanted to post for some time...).

Jim Kennedy wrote:
Current global rare earth production is about 180,000 tpy. In 5 years the global annual rare earth production will exceed 220,000 tons per year.

Assuming that 50% of our rare earth production came from Monazite the we could produce between half and 100% of the total global demand (3,850 to 7,700 tons per year).

Assuming that Thorium was valuable Monazite would become the preferred ore, making the 50% number extremely conservative.

Remember, this would all be byproduct thorium. Also the tonnage numbers would be for very high grade concentrates....

Jim

Note: Monazite runs at 3.5% to 7% Thorium. Monazite is relatively abundant but not mined due to the Thorium content.


In another words, current RE mining is more than enough to satisfy our Th needs for any conceivable future. No new mining needed. This I think is an important argument with greens and other public opposed to new/any mining projects.

PS: Happy new year!


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