Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lemhi Pass

(Cross posted on Energy from Thorium)
Yesterday, I continued my attempt to assess the thorium reserve. I pointed to research by Rice University Geologists, and endorsed by M. King Hubbert which indicated that many million tons of recoverable thorium was present in the Conway granite of Vermont. I also pointed to a posting by Conrad Windham which claimed that the confirmed thorium reserve in Lemhi Pass of Idaho/Montana was 600,000 tons, and a further probable reserve of 3,000,000 tones was present in the Lemhi Pass area. A few hours after I posted that, the link to Conrad Windham's discussion was broken. The link to his Web page also appears to be broken as well. This left me with something of a quandary since I could no longer point to Windham's statement. As it turned out Windham is not the only person making remarkable claims about the Lemhi Pass stake. Jack Lifton has been writing about thorium for investors during the past couple of years.

In a advisory which he dated February 22, 2007
, Lifton wrote:
"Look at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) documentation on thorium, but, be aware, that it is out of date. The current USGS material shows the U.S. with less than 200,000 tonnes of thorium reserves. In fact a new company, so far private, Thorium Energy, Inc. told me that the unpublished results of a new study commissioned by it from the USGS that show that TE’s Lemhi Pass property in Idaho has 600,000 tonnes of thorium reserves by itself. This if proved out would give the U.S. the largest reserves of thorium in the world, and would in fact be more than 1/3 of the world’s known thorium."

Lifton added:
"Thorium Power, Inc. has told me that they already have the technology to “switch over” from uranium to thorium more than 60% of the reactors in use today in the world."

"They said that a switched over or built from the ground up thorium powered reactor has for the “blanket” a total of three times the life of a uranium powered reactor. This would mean that the savings during the first fuel cycles will pay for the changeover in the case of a “retrofit.” The core can be used to burn fissionable grade plutonium to non weapons grade material while the blanket will be made from thorium and uranium-233, not 238, so that no weapons grade plutonium-239 can be produced in the reactor."

In another advisory dated February 27, 2008, Lifton discussed a paper by Richard Reed, a consultant with Idaho Engineering & Geology, Inc, and Dr. Virginia Gillerman of The Idaho Geological Survey, that had been presented the day before at the annual meeting of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration. The title of the Reed and Gillerman paper was “Thorium and Rare Earths in the Lemhi Pass Region.”

Lifton reported that USGS thorium specialist "Mr. James Hedrick was in fact the moderator of the special session of the SME where Reed and Gillerman presented their current results. Mr. Hedrick has stated that the credibility of the work by Reed and Gillerman and the extent of the deposits mapped by them will cause the USGS to re-evaluate both their thorium and rare earth mineral commodity surveys, and that later in the year the figures for the reserves and resources of both the US, and the world, for thorium and the rare earths will be revised to take into account the very large amounts of both which are now proved to be present in the Lemhi Pass region."

On February 28, 2008, Lifton added more details from the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration's annual meeting.

Lofton commented:
"The disconnect between the usual conservatism of professional geology and the hype of commercial promotion, usually downplayed, or ignored, at ‘investment conferences,’ was much in evidence at this meeting. Ironically, it was the businessmen who were sceptical, and the professionals who were excited."

1 comment:

Jim Muckerheide said...

Not that it's important, but note that Windham makes an error in saying that we can use all of thorium, while uranium is limited to 0.7%, the U-235.

Obviously, Th-232 is actually analogous to U-238 - both need a neutron (initiated from our ONLY natural fissile isotope, U-235) to become fissile U-233 and Pu-239 respectively. :-)


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