Reno, Nevada – January 26, 2004 – Nanomaterials developer Altair Nanotechnologies says it has signed an exclusive technology licensing agreement with Western Oil Sands pertaining to the use of the Altair Hydrochloride Pigment Process (AHPP) to extract heavy minerals from oil sands in Alberta and produce titanium dioxide pigment.
Under the terms of the agreement, Western Oil Sands will initially evaluate the AHPP to recover titanium and zirconium in heavy mineral by-products from oil sands tailings taken from various oil sands operations in the Athabasca region in Alberta.
The license is predicated on Western Oil Sands being able to meet predetermined development milestones and investment levels to enable further development and commercialization in a three-phased, five-year program.
“Alberta’s oil sands tailings will be an excellent demonstration of the AHPP,” says Doug Ellsworth, Altair’s vice president. “These tailings contain an estimated 10% heavy minerals, as compared to 2-4% typical in heavy mineral sand deposits worldwide. In addition to producing titanium dioxide pigment, the joint venture will evaluate the economics to extract and sell zircon, and to monetize other valuable byproducts such as asphaltenes.”
Altair’s AHHP technology is a comprehensive process for producing white titanium dioxide pigment from a variety of feedstock including hard rock ilmenite ore. It includes a new combination of processes that extract, purify and form high-quality white titanium dioxide pigment. The company says distinctive features of the process include projected lower operating costs, minimized environmental and health risks and the recycling of all the chemical additives used in the process.
The technology has also provided Altair the ability to produce a wide variety of nanomaterials with narrow particle-size control, chemical purity and particle morphology.