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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)

Sondermayer, Roman V.
Thorium,   pp. 1201-1208 PDF (856.3 KB)


Page 1205

 THORIUM 1205 
research continued to reduce costs and produce high-purity thorium. 
 In addition, authorities prepared detailed proposals for legislation regulating
ownership in the nuclear industry. At yearend, no information was available
on the status of this legislation. 
 Germany, West.—During 1972, Gulf Energy and Environmental Systems
Inc. (GEES) acquired a 45% interest in Hochtemperatur Reaktorbau GmbH (HTR);
Brown, Boveri and Co., Mannheim, retained 55% interest in the new company.
GEES as part owner will license HTR to use GGA-developed HTGR technology.
In return, GEES would gain access to the technology of the thorium high-temperature
reactor (THTR) with its "pebble bed" fuel concept that HTR expects to demonstrate
in a prototype reactor at Schmehausen, near Dortmund.2 
 India.—According to Indian Rare Earths Ltd. (IRE), monazite production
increased nearly 7% during the fiscal year ending March 1972.3 
Production and sales data for fiscal 1971 and 1972 were as follows, in short
tons: 
. 
1971 1 
1972 1 
Monazite processed           
Production of thorium hydroxide - 
Sales of monazite: 
3,903 
1,378 
4,165 
1,499 
Quantity               
 Value thousands - 
Sales of thorium hydroxide do - 
3,745 
$147 
$68 
4,677 
$181 NA 
' Fiscal year ending March. 
2To Indian Government. 
 The IRE will make a feasibility study of the mineral sand deposits along
the Orissa coast for assessing the monazite content. Mineral sands are found
near Gopalpura, on a 25-mile stretch of the Orissa coast. if results of the
study are favorable, IRE plans to build a mineral separation plant in Orissa.
IRE also planned to double the capacity of the Chavara mineral sand plant
in Kerala State from 110,000 to 220,000 short tons per year and to expand
capacity of the Manavalakurichi plant from 55,000 to 88,000 short tons per
year. The company continued to operate the thorium plant at Trombay as agent
of the Government of India.4 The company also discussed with the Department
of Atomic Energy and Bhabha Atomic Research Center the details of a program
of scientific cooperation with the Center for Research and Development at
Trombay. 
 Indonesia.—The State-owned Perussahaan Negara Tambang Timah planned
to extract monazite as a byproduct of tin mining. Expansion of facilities
to increase tin production and separate marketable monazite concentrates
was repOrted.5 
 Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon).—The Ceylon Mineral Sands Corp. announced
plans to expand its mineral sand facility at Pulmoddai. Equipment from the
China Bay plant will be dismantled and used for the expansion. Upon completion,
the new integrated sand complex at Pulmoddai will have an annual capacity
of 200,000 tons of raw sand yielding 500 tons of monazite and other products.
During 1972, a special committee representing the Ministry of Industries,
Ministry of Irrigation, and others was formed to ensure timely construction
of ancillary facilities for the project.6 
 South Africa, Republic of.—During 1972, two discoveries of monazite
were reported The first indicated monazite reserves in sand dunes near Garies,
Namaqualand. A concentration of heavy minerals was first noticed by airborn
radiometric survey. Reserves were reported at 95 million tons of sand with
a 10% content of heavy minerals. The second discovery was in the northeastern
Transvaal, 56 kilometers north of Rustenburg. Production of thorium as a
byproduct may be possible. Assays indicated an average content of 
3.16% ThO2.~ 
 Although the heavy minerals recovery 
plant of Palabora Mining Co. Ltd. at Phalaborwa, Transvaal, went on stream
in 1971, technical details of the operation were not reported until 1972.
Tailings from the copper concentrator are used as the raw material for heavy
minerals production. The six modules of the heavy minerals plant correspond
to the six sections of the copper concentrator. After desliming and removal
of magnetite, the entire tail- 
 2 Atomic Industrial Forum. New German Link 
Strengthens Gulf's European HTGR Alliances. 
Nuclear md., v. 20, No. 1, January 1973, pp. 
36—37. 
 ' Indian Rare Earths Ltd. 22nd Annual Report 1971—72, Bombay, 1972,
pp. 32. 
 4 Engineering and Mining Journal. V. 174. No. 
1, January 1973, p. 148. 
 5 American Metal Market. Ore Deposits in Indonesian Waters. V. 79, No. 139,
July 28, 1972, pp. 14—15. 
 6 Ministry of Industries. Review of Activities of Corporations 1971—72,
pp. 53--57. 
 7 South African Mining and Engineering Journal. Important Rare Earth Deposits
in the Pilensburg. V. 84, No. 4068, May 1972, pp. 13—15. 


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