American Technologies Incorporated Petroleum (ATIP) has announced that the People's Committee of Vietnam has approved its license for mineral exploration, and development of an ilmenite/titanium reserve.

Production is currently underway, with reserves estimated at over 5 million metric tons, while ATIP is the process of negotiating contracts that will make this mining project increasingly profitable.

Upon receiving the license, ATIP has gone into the immediate exploration and development, with the mining area consisting of 586 hectares and currently producing Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon and Monazite in commercial quantities.

Gases such as chlorine gas and argon are commonly used in the batch process of commercial titanium production, thought to be known as the Kroll process.

The processing of titanium metal occurs in 4 major steps, notably the reduction of titanium ore into a porous form or ‘sponge, the melting of this sponge or sponge plus a master alloy to form an ingot, primary fabrication, and secondary fabrication of finished shapes from mill products.

As the titanium metal reacts with oxygen at high temperatures, it’s believed that it cannot be produced by reduction of its dioxide and is therefore produced commercially by the Kroll process - a complex and expensive batch process.

During this procedure, the oxide is first converted to chloride through carbochlorination, whereby chlorine gas is passed over red-hot rutile or ilmenite in the presence of carbon to make TiCl4. This is then condensed and purified by fractional distillation and reduced with 800°C molten magnesium in an argon atmosphere.

In terms of fabrication, industrial gases are again a fundamental factor for production techniques, as all welding of titanium must be done in an inert atmosphere of argon or helium. This is necessary to shield the titanium from contamination with atmospheric gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, or hydrogen, which could cause joint failure or embrittlement.

As of recently, ATIP’s testing has only been completed down to 2m deep to show an estimated 5.5 million metric tons of reserves. Additional testing is likely to prove a much larger reserve as it is expected ore content will increase as testing goes deeper.

The company's current production capabilities allow for the separating and processing of 4000 m/t of ore per month and although ATIP currently has contracts in place, the company has major plans to ramp up sales and production. The company is also in negotiations with a large global mining group, to install Vietnam's first synthetic rutile processing facility.

ATI Petroleum is a US-based exploration management and operation company engaged in negotiating and managing production sharing contracts for petroleum and other natural resources.

The company evaluates, performs and/or purchases geological and geophysical data regarding exploration sites throughout North America, South East Asia and the African Continent, including offshore and onshore prospects.