[ RadSafe ] Sources of Thorium

Dan W McCarn hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Mon Jul 7 18:44:55 CDT 2008

Hi Marty:

Perhaps contact parthasarathy k s [ksparth at yahoo.co.uk] in India.  There is
quite a bit of interest in processing the monazite beach placers for thorium
and some work on a thorium fuel cycle.

A company such as Molycorp also produces other rare earths from monazite
sands, and are likely to have a some production capacity for thorium as


<< The processing of monazite ores begins with gravity, electrostatic and
magnetic separation to produce a monazite concentrate with a Ln oxide
content of ? 60 %. Monazite can be cracked by reaction with sulfuric acid,
like bastnasite, to yield a mixture of sulfates but the usual process is
with alkali [3]. The concentrate is finely ground and digested with an
excess of caustic soda at?150°C for several hours.

(Ln,Th)Po4 + NaOH => Na3PO4 + Ln(OH)3 + Th(OH)4

The phosphate portion produces a soluble sodium tripolyphosphate while the
lanthanides, along with thorium, form insoluble hydroxides (hydrated oxides)
that can be recovered.

The next step is hydrochloric acid attack, at ?70 °C and pH 3-4, on the
solids portion. The thorium remains insoluble and a crude thorium hydroxide
can be filtered off.>> 

Although interest in thorium lags far behind uranium, these are the OECD
(NEA) / IAEA numbers for RAR and EAR resources. 

RAR - Reasonably Assured Resources; EAR - Estimated Additional Resources
Country          RAR Th (tonnes)   EAR Th (tonnes) 
Brazil               606,000           700,000
Turkey               380,000           500,000 
India                319,000              - 
United States        137,000           295,000 
Norway               132,000           132,000 
Greenland             54,000            32,000 
Canada                45,000           128,000 
Australia             19,000              - 
South Africa          18,000              - 
Egypt                 15,000           309,000 
Other Countries      505,000              - 
World Total        2,230,000         2,130,000 

Dan ii

Dan W. McCarn, Geologist; 3118 Pebble Lake Drive; Sugar Land, TX 77479; USA 
HotGreenChile at gmail.com   mccarn at unileoben.ac.at   UConcentrate at gmail.com

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On Behalf
Of Bourquin, Marty
Sent: Monday, July 07, 2008 1:59 PM
To: radsafelist
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Sources of Thorium

 We are a licensed facility in the US that uses thorium oxide, high
surface area thorium oxide and thorium nitrate as raw materials in some
our processes.  Our current supplier (in France) has told us that they
will no longer be supplying these materials. We are looking for
alternative suppliers.  China has been mentioned but our raw material
vendors in China have told us that current regulations do not allow them
to export these materials. If anyone has any suggestions or ideas I
would love to hear them.

Please feel free to contact me off list if you feel the response is not
of general interest.

Martin W. Bourquin 
Manager - EHS 
Radiation Safety Officer
W.R. Grace & Co 
Chattanooga, TN  37406 

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