North America’s Largest
High-grade Ilmenite Deposit
Presenting titanium mining partnership opportunities
ResearchViable Titanium Source Made Possible by Recent Tech Advances
The Longnose deposit located near the Iron Range, a historic mining area in northeastern Minnesota, is the largest high-grade ilmenite deposit in North America, with reserves estimated at more than 100 million tons.
The deposit is amenable to open pit mining, which is common on the Iron Range.
The presence of magnesium oxide (MgO) in the ilmenite had stymied prior efforts to process the ore successfully. However, recent research conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Natural Resources Research Institue (NRRI) and PRO, a private, Toronto-based research firm, successfully converted Longnose concentrate into 99.8% pigment-grade titanium dioxide (TiO2).
Researchers estimated the mining and processing costs at less than $1,000 per ton of TiO2, which currently sells for $3,200 per ton.
CAPEX for the mine and processing facilities is estimated to be less than $200 million.
History & LocationOver a billion years in the making
Bear Creek Mining drills Longnose
Bear Creek Mining drilled a geophysical anomaly that had the signature of nickel-rich pyrrhotite. They found no sulfides; instead drill core showed a thick zone of massive oxides, which they misidentified as titaniferous magnetite.
Geologist identifies massive ilmenite at Longnose
In 1973 geologist Bill Ulland examined the drill core of the hole, A1-1, and found that the massive black oxide was ilmenite, running 20-25% TiO2.
New Jersey Zinc enters into an exploration agreement with American Shield and drills one hole at Longnose
Ulland proceeded to acquire the mineral rights through leases and entered into exploration agreements with a series of exploration and mining companies, beginning with the New Jersey Zinc company, which drilled one hole in Longnose.
Nicor Mineral Ventures/Westmont drills 10 holes at Longnose under an agreement with American Shield
Following the New Jersey Zinc company, Nicor Mineral Ventures drilled 10 holes and took a 70-ton bulk sample. These early explorers were stymied by the presence of MgO in the ilmenite, which made it unsuitable for making TiO2 pigment using the then-preferred chloride method of pigment making developed by DuPont.
Bureau of Mines smelting and sulfation-leaching test of Longnose ilmenite
BHP enters into an agreement with American Shield on Longnose
1992-93 BHP operates a Murso pilot plant on Longnose concentrate
NRRI runs a pilot plant to optimize beneficiated Longnose concentrate
BHP established a pilot plant at the NRRI lab at Coleraine, Minnesota. BHP’s goal was to make synthetic rutile using an oxidation-reduction step on ilmenite concentrate followed by an HCl leach.
BHP discusses nano TiO2 pigment with Altair. Altair acquires the technology. BHP terminates its agreement with American Shield on Longnose and exits the Ti02 business
BHP was successful in making synthetic rutile but the costs were prohibitive—particularly the cost to regenerate the acid. As part of a corporate decision to leave the TiO2 business, BHP dropped the property.
2007-09: Morley Group enters into an exploration agreement with American Shield
Morley Group enters into an agreement with Cardero Resource to explore Longnose, subject to its agreement with American Shield
2010-12: Cardero drills 15 holes on Longnose, doubling the reserve
Cardero drilled 15 holes totaling 3,238 m; an additional 1,979 m had been drilled by the previous explorers. Cardero spent $4,500,000 on drilling and characterization of the core and other samples. This drilling doubled the known size of the deposit, which is still open at depth. Their plan for treating the ore was based on a smelting operation designed to produce both pig iron and titanium-rich slag. Cardero ran into financial problems, and the property reverted to the American Shield Titanium Group LLC, of which Ulland is the president.
Morley/Cardero default on obligation to American Shield, and the agreement is cancelled
Iminex enters into a development agreement with American Shield
Iminex defaults, and the agreement is cancelled
2016-17: The NRRI and PRO develop a process to upgrade Longnose concentrate to pigment-grade Ti02
In 2016, with the help of a $600,000 grant from the IRRRB and the University of Minnesota, the NRRI and Process Research Ortech joined forces, as described in the NRRI report, to successfully eliminate the MgO problem and create a pigment-grade Ti02. Estimated 0PEX is less than $1,000/ton of Ti02. The current price of pigment-grade Ti02 is $3,200/ton. Estimated CAPEX for 60,000 tpa mine and processing plant is less than $200,000,000.
The NRRI/PRO project results are released on May 19th showing very favorable economics
The Longnose deposit is located northeast of Hoyt Lakes, MN
PartnersExperienced in the Business of Mining & Mineral Exploration
Bill Ulland is president of American Shield LLC and American Shield Titanium Group LLC. American Shield Titanium Group LLC was formed to hold the leases and other assets relating to the Longnose deposit. Its owners, who reflect the exploration history of the deposit, are:
- American Shield LLC, which owns 50% of American Shield Titanium Group.
- Darryl Coons, who owns 25%.
- Heirs of Lloyd K. Johnson, who own 25%.
Johnson and Coons owned exploration data from a relationship with Bear Creek Mining dating to the 1950s; the data led Ulland and American Shield LLC to the Longnose deposit. All the parties, with the exception of some of the Johnson heirs, have rich backgrounds in mining and mineral exploration, owning mineral rights and mining leases.
American Shield LLC &
American Shield Titanium