Uranium and Rodinia
Obama’s Clean Energy Agenda
President Obama has made global warming one of the key issues of his administration. And it’s an extremely ambitious agenda he’s bringing to the table. Included in his agenda is a pledge to eliminate oil imports from the Middle East and Venezuela within a decade and to slash his country’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than 30 per cent by the year 2020.
If President Obama is to successfully implement his energy doctrine he has to do two things. Firstly he has to come up with an alternative means to powering the transportation system, quite simply he has to come up with a replacement for most of the gas and diesel presently being burned. And secondly, America has to be weaned off using fossil fuels (coal and natural gas) to produce the vast majority of its electrical needs.
Obama’s Clean Energy Agenda is not just another politician’s wish list to be put in front of voters during an election. The will is there and the people are in place to start the US down the path of energy independence.
Obama’s desire for clean energy will be spearheaded by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanue (nicknamed “Rahmbo” for his hard charging sometimes street fighting style), and complemented by hardliner green leadership in both the House and Senate.
- California Senator Barbara Boxer (D) - chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
- California Representative Henry Waxman (D) - chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
“Our committee will be acting quickly and decisively to reduce global warming and end our dependence on foreign oil.” Representative Waxman
The EPA will also get involved on the carbon footprint side of things: EPA to Regulate Carbon Dioxide Emissions February 19th, 2009
“The New York Times reported today that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)…is expected to regulate carbon dioxide emissions….Legislation would primarily deal with carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant…..Whatever the final legislation looks like, President Obama’s administration has set a course that allows for the consideration of clean energy.”
The following quote makes it very clear what the administration thinks will help them achieve their goals.
“Today, we have the chance to achieve a real breakthrough: the plug-in hybrid…Hybrid engines save gasoline by switching back and forth from battery to gasoline power……With a plug-in hybrid, commuters can drive back and forth to work, recharge their cars overnight, and go a month or more without a trip to the gas station.” White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
To achieve this breakthrough the US is going to need batteries that are cheaper, more durable and more powerful then the current nickel-metal-hydride (NiMh) batteries. Because of groundbreaking research there’s already an answer being voiced, Lithium-ion. With double the “energy density” of today’s standard NiMh batteries lithium-ion cells have emerged as the leading battery technology to power hybrid vehicles.
- Lithium-Ion battery packs are GM’s solution for the Volt hybrid
- Lithium-Ion battery packs can be manufactured to any shape or size, thereby making them easy to fit into any car design
- No memory effect, therefore easier for drivers to charge and maintain
- High energy-to-weight ratio, helping increase efficiency and environmental friendliness
- Most new hybrids and hybrid concepts being introduced rely on Lithium-Ion battery technology
This battery is absolutely critical to President Obama’s energy
plan, he’ll need such a battery for energy storage if he’s going to replace
much of the nation’s oil imports with US nuclear, solar, wind and geothermal
eco-friendly generated electricity. The demand for lithium will rise many times
over present day production with the coming runaway demand for eco-vehicles.
Where will the lithium come from?
As electricity starts to replace gasoline in America the country could very well be running the risk of replacing it’s dependence on foreign oil for a dependence on foreign lithium or foreign produced lithium cells.
“We cannot allow ourselves to become dependent on foreign sources of lithium-ion battery cells (or Lithium itself – author) as we have become dependent on petroleum from the Middle East,” National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Battery Cell Manufacture’s Attorney James Greenberger
- According to the USGS, overall demand for lithium is growing at a rate of 4-5% per year
- Demand for lithium destined for battery usage is predicted to grow by 20% per year
- Over 60% of mobile phones and 90% of laptop computers feature Lithium Ion batteries
- The worldwide market for rechargeable lithium batteries is estimated to be worth over $4 billion/year
- The automotive market alone is projected to reach $337 million in 2012, and $1.6 billion in 2015
The U.S. contains only about 3 percent of the world’s Lithium reserves. Presently “Chile provides 61 percent of lithium exports to the U.S. and Argentina is the source of 36 percent.” United States Geological Survey
Bolivia, at an estimated fifty percent of world supply, has by far, the largest lithium deposits of any country.
Lithium is not traded publicly; it’s sold directly to end users for a negotiated price per ton or pound of Lithium carbonate (Li2CO3). High demand and low supply has recently caused reported paid end user prices to reach US $6,600.00 ton.
But right now price isn’t the issue, rather the issue is one of supply. Demand for lithium is increasing and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. anticipates that demand will increase fivefold to meet the needs of electric vehicles.
There’s one unit of lithium in a cell phone battery, 3,000 units in a hybrid car and 7,000 units in an electric car; the numbers work out to 9 to 30 kilograms of lithium oxide per car battery. One of President Obama’s goals is 1,000,000 built in America hybrid cars on American roads by 2015. The automotive industry needs a secure uninterrupted supply of lithium to ramp up its production of the next generation of hybrid electric vehicles using lithium-ion batteries.
The traditional hard-rock mining of pegmatites containing the lithium bearing silicate spudomene is time, energy and cost intensive. Lithium is the thirty-third most frequently occurring mineral so it’s not exactly scarce, but concentrations are generally too low, and extraction too difficult and costly to be viable. The major trend in the lithium industry has been a transition from hard rock mining-based sources of lithium to brine-based ones. The cost-effectiveness of brine operations forced even large producers in China and Russia to develop their own brine sources or buy raw materials from brine producers.
The economics of obtaining lithium carbonate from brine are so favorable that most hard rock production has been priced out of the market. Lithium brines are currently the only lithium source that can support mining without significant other credits from tantalum, niobium, tin etc., (low manganese content within Nevada’s Clayton Valley brines significantly reduces recovery costs, unlike Chile’s high manganese content brine deposits). Lithium brine resources are now the preferred method of lithium recovery.
Clayton Valley Nevada has the US’s only operating lithium recovery operation (and the only one in North America).
Recovering lithium from brines is not considered hard rock mining, its classified the same as placer and permitting is much easier and quicker.
Lithium recovery from brines could lead to a huge carbon footprint reduction because of a nearly zero-waste mining method. Once the lithium is recovered all the chemicals used can be recycled. By-products include saleable compounds such as potash and/or boron.
The Uranium argument
To meet President Obama’s stated goals of energy independence and a huge reduction in its carbon footprint the US transportation system, as much as possible, has to be electrified. But electricity is an energy carrier, it isn’t a fuel, which means it has to be manufactured. The electricity needed for Obama to succeed in replacing fossil fuels, both for transportation and energy generation for everyday use, will have to come from nuclear power. There’s simply no other way for him to come close to meeting his stated targets.
The manufacturing of most electricity is done using natural gas, coal, or uranium. Obviously using more natural gas or coal is out of the question.
- Hydrogen is an energy carrier not a fuel and as such has to be manufactured. As well the complete infrastructure used for O&G would have to be changed over for hydrogen use. Hydrogen is extremely explosive.
- Solar, wind and geothermal are all niche suppliers and are untried on a large scale. Solar and wind have extremely large footprints and geothermal seems to be limited to a few parts of the country. All three of these technologies are extremely important and each will successfully contribute, in a smallish way, to America’s energy independence.
- Bio-fuels take away valuable cropland and use a startling amount of what is a diminishing clean fresh water supply. High emissions.
- Hydro supplies approximately 10% of US power but going to clean eco-friendly energy isn’t accomplished by damning what free-flowing rivers are left.
Each of the listed energy production methods is capable of supplying a part of America’s energy needs, but, even when added together, are incapable of replacing the massive amounts of energy needed to meet President Obama’s stated goals of energy independence and a one third reduction in the United States carbon footprint. For Obama to meet his goals nuclear power has to be the primary electricity generating technology.
The US currently uses roughly fifty-five million pounds of uranium a year. The country produces roughly four million. The Russians with their Megatons to Megawatts Program supply half the shortfall but that program ends in 2013.
America produces less then ten percent of its uranium needs and relies on imports and the Russians for the rest of their Uranium. If America never builds another nuclear plant the existing demand is not going to go away or even lessen.
Uranium really has no coming upside surprise supply. And foreign sourced uranium is going to become increasingly scarcer.
“In all, over 100 power reactors with a total net capacity of almost 120,000 MWe are planned and over 250 more are proposed.”
To meet Obama’s goal of energy independence the US will have to build many more reactors and presently there’s proposals for over twenty new plants. To supply these new and existing plants uranium deposits in the US need to be developed.
The United States is not even close to being self sufficient in Lithium or Uranium. If America is to end its dependence on foreign energy and vastly reduce its carbon footprint it will have to develop its own internal resources of these critical minerals.
Developing countries such as China and India, with 2.3 billion people between them, will, even while going mostly nuclear, drastically increase their consumption of fossil fuels. Oil, natural gas and coal are all going much higher in price. Soon it is going to be imperative that the present US administration is seen to be doing something, as promised, about high energy prices, foreign energy dependence and the US’s extremely large carbon footprint.
The Alternative Energy Revolution with its “Yes we will!” slogan has been presented as a major plank in Obama’s election platform and there’s no question he will follow through. He has to, the coming high price of energy derived from non-friendly foreign fossil fuel suppliers combined with ever increasing competition for limited resources will make it happen.
Lithium and Uranium are two of the best ways to play President Obama’s energy agenda. The power of the office of the President of the United States will be backing the Eco-Energy Revolution and billions of dollars will be given out to develop the technology behind the Lithium-ion battery. This energy revolution is a serious investable long-term trend and we, as investors, have to take advantage of the opportunities being presented. We’d be smart to get in early, ahead of the herd, to take advantage of the coming global rush to electricity – generated by nuclear power and stored in Lithium-ion batteries.
Rodinia Minerals RM.tsx-v
The increasing demand will be very good for Lithium miners and battery makers bottom lines but it may be especially lucrative to the junior exploration and development companies who have had the foresight to lock up large lithium brine deposits IN THE UNITED STATES and actually own the much needed and increasingly valuable lithium.
Uranium is also going to be a much sought after commodity and companies with 43-101 ISR compatible deposits owning permitted uranium mill sites with associated water in the US are going to become very popular with investors and very likely become takeover targets.
I’ve found a company with both lithium and uranium and a host of other positive attributes:
- 100% interest in 50,000 acres in Clayton Valley, surrounding the only US operating lithium producer
- Clayton Valley lithium bines have been producing lithium carbonate since 1966
- In 1975, I.A. Kunasz of the American Institute of Mining, estimated the mineral endowment of Clayton Valley to be 750 million kg of lithium
- Uranium deposits, with 43-101 compliant resources and huge exploration/discovery potential, in a favorable to mining area of the US
- Good management
- Tight share structure
- Cash in the treasury
- Two permitted US uranium mill sites with the right to purchase associated water permits.
C$ 0.105 UPDATE
52-wk High 0.420
52-wk Low 0.035
Current issued and outstanding shares 23,492,217
1M @ $0.32 – Expire June 2010
1.455 @ $0.74 Expire July 2011 Property Purchase
Stock Options outstanding 2,200,000
Fully diluted share capital 28,147,217
Cash approximately $2,000,000
Projects, from the website
Clayton Valley Lithium Project
Clayton Valley, the Saudi Arabia of Lithium?
Rodinia recently announced that it and its Wyoming subsidiary, Donnybrook Platinum Resources, Inc. had entered into a letter agreement (the “Agreement”) with GeoXplor Corp. (“GeoXplor”) in respect of 250 unpatented mining claims located in the Clayton Valley, Esmeralda County, Nevada (the “Property”).
Clayton Valley is home to the only lithium producer in the United States. This plant extracts lithium from brines pumped from aquifiers below the valley and has been in production since 1967. The plant is designed to produce 1.2 million kg of lithium per year and to date has produced an estimated 50 million kg of lithium. Rodinia’s property is adjacent to this production facility.
In 1975, I.A. Kunasz of the American Institute of Mining, estimated the mineral endowment of Clayton Valley to be 750 million kg of lithium. A more recent study by Price, Lechler, Lear and Giles in 2000, suggests that significantly more lithium was released into the Clayton Valley catchment by the weathering of high lithium bearing rocks. They suggest that as groundwater enters the basin, it appears to be dissolving lithium minerals accumulated in valley sediment and is partially recharging the lithium content of the brine, while mining operations have been ongoing. (Replenishment of brines comes from surrounding Rhyolite, which are the most lithium rich in the world. Brines in the area have concentrations as high as 1000 ppm Concentrations as low as 166 ppm have been used in lithium brine pool extraction methods. - Author)
In addition to the claims covered under the Option, Rodinia through its U.S. subsidiary has staked an additional 284 claims (45,440 acres) in Clayton Valley. These mining claims will form part of the Property under an area of mutual interest clause in the Agreement. When combined with the claims under option, Rodinia now has a total of 50,440 acres under its control, accounting for approximately 90% of the valley. Rodinia has planned an aggressive exploration program to target additional layers of lithium bearing brines which may exist throughout the property.
Recovery of Lithium From Saline Brines Using Solar Evaporation
Wayne T Barrett & Bernard J O’Neill Jr.
Foote Mineral Company
Location: Gila County, Arizona
Resources: 5,542,000 lbs U3O8 (NI 43-101 compliant)
Ownership: Option to acquire 100%
Database from US$10 Million in Exploration
Workman Creek, first explored by the mineral exploration arm of Westinghouse, is an advanced uranium project with an established inferred resource. Rodinia inherited an extensive database at Workman Creek compiled from over US$10 million in exploration and development. Since acquiring its option, Rodinia has upgraded the resource to NI 43-101 standards, staked additional claims, conducted extensive soil sampling, completed MMI pits and scintillometer surveys and completed environmental permitting for further exploration.
Radiometric Survey by Atomic Energy Commission
The uranium potential of the Workman Creek area was first recognized in 1955, when the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission conducted an airborne radiometric survey over Gila County. Their work located 20 radiometric anomalies, nine of which were considered significant. A massive staking rush ensued, resulting in the discovery of 46 uranium deposits.
Westinghouse Gets Involved
Wyoming Mineral Corporation (WMC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Westinghouse, blanket-staked the area in the late 1970s and conducted an extensive exploration program. This work identified the Workman Creek deposit, and it became WMC’s primary focus. The project was suspended, however, when uranium prices plummeted.
432-Hole Drill Program
WMC’s work included a 432-hole drill program, geological mapping, geochemistry, metallurgical testing, mine plan design and the commissioning of Dravos Engineers and Contractors to complete a feasibility report.
Original Resource Established
The Dravos geo-statistical estimate of reserves, encompassing both open pit and underground mining was 4.4 million tons containing 9.8 million pounds of U3O8 with an average grade of 0.11% and a cutoff of 0.05%. This estimate was made prior to implementation of NI 43-101.
Resource Upgraded to NI 43-101
Gary Giroux, a Member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of the Province of British Columbia and a qualified person as defined by NI 43-101, has recalculated the Workman Creek resource. By refining the geological model used in the calculation, Mr. Giroux increased the inferred resource at a (0.05% cutoff) from 2.35 million tons to 3.22 million tons with a resultant increase in U3O8 from 4,047,160 lbs. to 5,542,000 lbs. at the same average grade of 0.086%. It should be noted that the increase in poundage is also NI 43 101 compliant.
Westinghouse Achieves High Recoveries
Metallurgical studies by Westinghouse indicated that recovery by leaching was approximately 94%. Dravos, in their feasibility report, noted that by implementing conventional mining methods (including underground and open pit), and by building a $12 million mill site, the internal rate of return (IRR) was calculated at 86% with U3O8 at US$22/pound. Using in-situ recovery, (ISR) the cut-off grade would drop and the IRR would increase as long as recovery rates remained constant.
“Early indications are that the Workman Creek deposit will be amenable to in-situ recovery (ISR). In the United States, you either add CO2 or sodium bicarbonate plus an oxidant, such as oxygen, to the groundwater. Then you re-inject the solution into the sandstone host formation to dissolve the uranium off the sandstone. Recovery wells suck up the injectant and you leach off the uranium.” author
Many Targets Left to Explore
Most of the work conducted by Westinghouse was concentrated on or around the Workman Creek deposit. By the time they abandoned the property in 1981, very little work had been performed on other targets—in particular, on the eight other significant radiometric anomalies that were identified. All of these anomalies are within a ten-mile radius of the Workman Creek deposit and have recently been staked by Rodinia. Rodinia has also staked the most significant of the 46 known deposits discovered during the 1950’s staking rush.
Phase 1 Completed
Rodinia’s Phase 1 program, which is complete, consisted of an evaluation of the immense Wyoming Mineral Corporation database (compiled during 1978-1980), twinning of several holes to confirm grade and nature of mineralization, comparison of radiometric and chemical analyses and additional claim staking.
For 2008: Phase 2 and a Preliminary Feasibility Study
Rodinia engaged Coast Mountain Group to manage Phase 2 exploration. Coast Mountain recommended a drill program of 78 reverse circulation holes to confirm existing resource blocks, infill between existing holes in areas of mineralization and step out from known mineralized areas to expand the resource. Drilling permits have been submitted and the Company is currently waiting for the approvals. In the meantime, we’re continuing our ongoing radon survey over the north and south deposits of Workman Creek while preparing a 2008 database compilation preliminary feasibility study.
Red Bluff Mine
Location: Gila County Arizona
Resources: Historic resource (not NI 43-101 compliant)
Ownership: 100% with 3% yellowcake royalty
A Strategic Acquisition
The Red Bluff Mine is located only nine miles south of Rodinia’s Workman Creek project in the Dripping Springs Quartzite uranium bearing unit. The project includes two permitted mill sites, an extensive database compiled by Westinghouse and a historic uranium resource. The acquisition agreement also includes the option to purchase, at commercially prevailing rates, water associated with rights owned by the Red Bluff Mine. Considering the shortage of water in the region and the scarcity of uranium mills in North America, the Red Bluff acquisition represents a strategic milestone for Rodinia.
First Explored by Westinghouse
The Red Bluff Mine was discovered in 1950 and later acquired by Westinghouse in 1976 through its wholly-owned subsidiary Wyoming Minerals Corp. Approximately 70 holes were drilled and a historic resource was reported by David Kuck, Professional Geologist, in 1988.
For 2008: Geophysical and Geochemical Surveys
Rodinia has contracted with Coast Mountain Geological Ltd. to conduct a geophysical and geochemical survey to identify drill targets. Current work also includes assessment and repair of water lines.
The Acquisition Agreement
The Red Bluff Mine was acquired by mineral lease agreement with Ethel Schell Larsen’s Red Bluff Mine, LLC (“Red Bluff”) to explore, develop and mine the 46 unpatented lode mining claims and two permitted mill site claims. Under the agreement, Red Bluff will receive a 3% yellowcake royalty in respect of uranium mined from the claims, and a 3% net smelter return royalty in respect of all other ores mined from the claims.
The rechargeable power needs of our modern society has made lithium a serious player in the commodity markets and something for investors to seriously think about getting involved with. Each and every laptop, PDA, cell phone, and iPod sold makes lithium that much more valuable and interesting.
But with President Obama’s agenda to end the Unites States dependence on fossil fuels and reduce his countries carbon footprint soon the main market for lithium won’t just be cell phones, iPods and laptops but the next generation hybrid or totally electric vehicle batteries.
Rodinia’s uranium and lithium could very well be an unbeatable combination to have in one company and in your portfolio. Their lithium claims are next to a producing lithium brine deposit and Rodinia has two permitted uranium mill sites with the right to buy the associated water close to millions of pounds of 43-101 compliant uranium resources.
And lets not forget that there are few permitted uranium mills in the United States and during the past twenty years the mill permitting process time has gone from an average of three years to fifteen.
Lithium and uranium might just become the commodity of choice for
Are uranium and lithium the next big thing? If so, then Rodinia shareholders could do very well being as exposed as they are to President Obama’s Energy Revolution.
Rodinia Minerals Inc.
Phone: 604 662 3903
Fax: 604 662 3904
600 - 595 Howe St.
Vancouver, B.C. V6C 2T5
"As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information."
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Richard (Rick) Mills
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