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Nanotech companies are
interested in Atlas Minings
halloysite clay because its microtubular characteristics allow it to be injected with
various materials from drugs to anti-mold chemicals in paint
Atlas Mining Company
630 East Mullan Avenue
Osburn, ID 83849
William T. Jacobson
Chairman, President and CEO
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
September 8, 2005
William T. Jacobson has been president and CEO of Atlas Mining Company since August
of 1997. He has worked directly in the mining industry for over 20 years. Mr. Jacobson
also spent 15 years in the banking industry. He graduated with a B. S. in Business
Administration from the University of Idaho in 1971 and is a member of the Northwest
Atlas Mining Company is a diversified natural resource company with its primary focus on
the development of the Dragon Mine in Juab County, Utah, recently purchased from Chester
Mining and the only known commercial source of halloysite clay outside of New Zealand. The
unique purity and quality of the Dragon mine halloysite is unmatched anywhere in the world
and has spawned considerable research into new and exciting applications for this product.
Atlas also holds mining and timber interests in Northern Idaho, and operates an
underground mining contracting business. Atlas stock trades on the OTC Bulletin Board
under the symbol "ALMI".
Atlas Mining Company has announced that it has engaged in discussions with several
nano-technology companies. The unique tubular halloysite is a primary nano-ceramic
material. The unique size and shape of the Dragon Mine halloysite makes it very
interesting from the point of being fillers in coatings and composite materials. The
microtubules are capable of being functionalized by a number of means including being
plated by an electrolysis process with metals from iron to copper and nickel giving them a
range of very interesting properties, including being fillers in RAM materials.
Additionally, they can be used as molecular sieves, catalysts in hydrocarbon cracking,
fillers in polymers and other similar materials. Companies that make ceramic cracking
catalysts and molecular sieve materials will make excellent customers for the company. The
Company has supplied additional product for distribution and further testing in the paint
and fertilizer industry. The company and its advisors are also in discussions with several
Asian biotech companies regarding the ingestible benefits of the halloysite time-release
In a patented process developed by the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington D.C.,
scientists have created a new method of controlled release using microtubules made from
halloysite clay. These microtubules, cylindrical in shape and with a hollow core, can be
used in a wide variety of products. In the case of the US Navy, researchers utilized
microtubules to add anti-barnacle agents to paints used on the hulls of Navy ships. The
microtubules are filled with the anti-fouling agent, which is slowly released over time.
Several U.S. companies are currently looking at microtubules for applications ranging from
agricultural chemicals to paints to household products. Although these microtubules can be
produced synthetically, researchers have determined that, due to its unique
microstructure, halloysite clay may be the preferred source. Halloysite clay is naturally
derived, nontoxic and biodegradable.
Moving beyond its historical focus on precious metals, Atlas operates an underground
mining contracting business and also holds mining and timber interests in Northern Idaho,
controlling approximately 1,000 acres in northern Idaho, and harvests the timber on this
property to generate additional revenues. Atlas Fausett Contracting (AFC), a division of
Atlas, is a leading mining contracting company in the Idaho silver belt. AFC was the main
contractor at the Mayflower Mine, a Brimstone Gold Corp. project, outside of Whitehall,
Montana, and for the Holden Mine closure, a U.S. Government and U.R.S. Corporation project
on Lake Chelan, Washington. AFC operates under a permit from the Mine Safety and Health
Administration and also possesses a permit to handle explosives from the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Since AFC focuses on underground mining activities, there
is very little surface disturbance, which is the main environmental concern faced by
mining companies whose activities are centered on surface mining.
CEOCFO: Mr. Jacobson, we
last spoke over a year ago; how has Atlas Mining Company changed in the past year?
Mr. Jacobson: I would have to say that quite a
bit of change has taken place. Last year when you talked to us, we had a dream and a lot
of goals set in place to achieve that dream. Today, we are right about there with about 95
to 98% of our goals completed. Since last year weve raised about $5 million from
stock sales and these are all restricted stock sales that we do not do registrations. This
is because we have people that believed in us and who are willing to hold their stock for
a period of time without having to do a registration. This allowed us to realize a good
value from our stock without having to go out into the market. With this money we are
achieving our goals down in the Dragon Mine in Juab County, Utah. This property is a high
quality halloysite clay property and we are finding this clay to be very popular in the
nano world, microtubular, microscopic world, because of the type of elements that the clay
has in it.
CEOCFO: The mine was pretty much barren a year ago; what have
you done to get it up to speed?
Mr. Jacobson: A year ago we basically started building
the infrastructure of our Dragon mine. We knew where the deposit was; it was an
underground deposit, then what we did was put up a building; an ore pad to lay our ore on,
we put in an electrical system, a water system, a septic system and we have compressed air
going into the mine. We have also driven over a thousand feet of declining tunnels and
access tunnels into the clay bed and weve been able to bring some of the clay out
for further processing. So we are very pleased with what weve been able to achieve
and much of this was achieved with small dollar amounts.
CEOCFO: You are currently taking some clay out of the mine;
what is the next step?
Mr. Jacobson: The next step is for us to invite some of
the potential buyers to the mine site to prove to them that we actually do have a product
that is available to them. There is also a lot of testing, because this is an industrial
type of product that everybody has a little bit different specification or desire on what
sizing and/or colors that they may want. Therefore, we just need to find out what
different buyers want and make sure that we have the available amount when it is time for
them to buy. We will be inviting potential buyers to our mine site to look at out
operations and see that we are a legitimate company that actually can process and produce
that product that they want.
CEOCFO: Please tell us about the clay and what buyers are
Mr. Jacobson: The clay at our Dragon mine is
predominantly a halloysite clay; youll find that some of the clay has a little bit
of an iron streak in it, or iron stain and some people do not want that. Some of it has a
little bit of alunite in it, which is a sulfate type of product that will cause different
reactions in the different uses. The person that is going to be using this clay as a
microtubular or a nano-technology type of resource; some of them do not care whether there
is a little bit of iron ore or alunite. However, the guy who is using it in fine China or
porcelain or ceramic process, may desire not to have that type of product in it. What we
would do is simply end up separating some of these products so that the products with the
iron ore or alunite would go to one buyer and the one without would go to another.
CEOCFO: So you have a wide range customers and just need
adapt your product for their specific usage.
Mr. Jacobson: Yes, and as we get into the clay bed and
are able to open up more areas, we will have different varieties that we can provide to
the potential buyers.
CEOCFO: Please tell us about the relationships you have
developed in the nano tech arena.
Mr. Jacobson: About a year ago we signed a couple of
memorandums of understanding; one understanding was with a company called NanoDynamics,
Inc., who is one of the foremost nano-technology companies in the United States. They own
a lot of nano patents and have very good financial backing. They have taken an interest in
our clay because of the nano microtubular aspects of it. When we look at our clay under a
microscope broken down to its smallest elements, the structure under the microscope looks
tubular and hollow. Basically, what is happening is these elements can be utilized in
areas of the nano world because they can inject these little tubes with other materials
and change the complex of the unit that they are being put into. Thats why they are
so popular. A good example would be to make a house paint with an anti-mold or
anti-fungicide; you can take these little microtubulars and inject them with the anti-mold
or anti-fungus agent. Then you can put it in you paint and as the paint wears off on your
windowsill, these anti-mole agents come out and kill any mold or mildew on your
windowsill. This is an area that is being looked at and tested by the paint companies
right now. It is the micro structures or the nano structures of our clay that is allowing
for this to happen, and that is why the Nano companies are so interested. Nano-Dynamics
has been sending our clay to the various potential users and they have basically been
involved in the plastics and polymer world, trying to utilize our clay in that area. They
seem to have been having success and we should be receiving some orders from this area in
The other company we have been doing business with is a startup company called
NaturalNano, Inc. and Natural Nano, basically built their thought process and company
around our tubular clay. They simply want to be able to separate and classify these
different micro tubes into areas where they become more valuable. If somebody wants a
nano-tube that is only 7 nano meters long they can classify these tubes so that they can
be sold in various sizes, thus putting a lot more value on the product.
CEOCFO: What further steps are necessary to bring buyers to
Mr. Jacobson: Because weve been developing this
property on a very limited budget, we probably didnt take all of the steps that we
needed to take. We knew that the clay bed was there and we knew that we could get into it
and mine it. So remember, that is what we are, a mining company, we are not a technology
company. However, as we get into this we are finding that the technical aspects of this
product are very important to buyers. We are doing some things as we speak; for example,
we are designing the clay bed a little bit better, with more geological and scientific
studies on the clay. We are also in the process of putting a laboratory on the property so
that we can analyze some of these products and figure out where we are going with them as
we go. This will enable us not to be so dependent on outside labs. Of course we are
developing the clay bed so that we can have additional areas to mine, and when someone
asks for a specific type of clay or characteristic or quality, and then we will be able to
get into it and get that particular area mined out.
CEOCFO: Will you need to expand or add more members to your
team to accomplish your goals?
Mr. Jacobson: We expect to be hiring another half dozen
people in the near future to help take care of this. Ironically, the mining industry is
very short handed right now. There are not many experienced miners out there that do not
already have jobs and we are competing with other companies to give the available few
CEOCFO: I would imagine
that since what you are doing is new and exciting that you may be able to attract people
that wouldnt otherwise make changes.
Mr. Jacobson: That would be our hope.
CEOCFO: What is the
availability of halloysite clay outside of the Dragon Mine?
Mr. Jacobson: There is very little availability of
halloysite clay outside of our Dragon Mine that we know of, and there are other types of
natural materials that have the same characteristics. Ironically the major competitor of
our halloysite clay is in New Zealand. However, their microscopic structure is different
than ours and we feel very fortunate to have a lot of micro tubular characteristics in our
CEOCFO: I know that you mentioned earlier that you have
already raised some money; can you provide further details about this and how you will
fund your continued development?
Mr. Jacobson: As recent as the end of June, we accepted
$4.4 million from investors who had already been investing in us; these are institutional
investors and long term holders of our stock. They have been out to the property and have
done a lot of due diligence about our company. They basically came to me and said,
Look Bill, youll need more money to get this thing going the way you want it
to go, and they were very congenial about the manner in which they bought stock from
us. Therefore, we are sitting on a fairly sizeable amount of money right now for a little
company like ours and we feel like we have enough money to move us into a full production
stage with this property.
CEOCFO: What are the challenges that you foresee and how are
Mr. Jacobson: Some of the challenges that any little
company has are the worry about keeping enough cash flow in the company to be able to
justify its existence. Now Atlas Mining has been very fortunate in that we have been
around for about 80 years now, but part of those 80 years was a very stagnant survival,
because we had very little going on. When my people and I took over Atlas Mining in the
late 90s, we set goals to try to create properties that had positive cash flow and
to try to have different areas that we could create cash flow for the company. We still
have a contracting company that is doing contract work; in fact, we are working for two
different other mining companies right now with some of our people. What we will do is as
those jobs finish up we will probable be taking some of those miners to our Dragon Mine
property in Utah. However, these are all areas in which we are able to create positive
cash flow for the company so that we can continue our efforts and we will continue doing
things like that. We also have our logging business that although we have not sold all
that much timber over the last year, we are hoping to maybe sell a little bit of
additional timber this year and that will create some cash flow for us.
CEOCFO: In closing, please address potential investors; why
should they be looking at Atlas Mining now? What should potential investors realize
that does not jump out at first glance?
Mr. Jacobson: Some of the people have looked at our
stock price and the stock has gone from a fairly low amount, 10 or 20 cents this last
year, up to $1.00, $1.10, $1.20 this year. We think that weve hit a fairly stable
price that is about $1.10 as we speak right now. However, as we take that first or second
order in from our clay production and as we continue to grow in other areas, you will find
that there will be a lot of positive reactions in the market from shareholders that have
watched us and are waiting to get involved. We dont think that the stock price is
going to stay at the $1.10 price much longer and we are very positive about the future of
the company from that stand point. The other thing that you might want to think about is
the fact that we are a small company, but by being a small company, we have some very
entrepreneurial attitudes about things and trying to get things done. At this point, we
are not loaded down by bureaucratic people that are just looking to build their own little
world. As a matter of fact, my operations manager is down in Utah right now and hes
not only overlooking the property, but he is also helping to unload steel when it comes in
or helping to move dirt when it needs to be moved. He is the type of guy thats not
afraid to empty his own wastebasket and thats the way that everyone that works for
us is. If the job needs to be done, we get it done and you will find that that spirit is
going to carry us a lot further in the world than the bigger companies that are weighted
down by the bureaucracies.
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