Largest Natural Thorium Reserves
At present, information on resources of thorium ores is sparse, since its low economic potential renders widespread exploration unnecessary.
The main sources of information on thorium reserves are United States Geological Survey (Thorium Information and Statistics, 2020) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and USGS figures agree the largest reserves in the world are found in India which has around 25% of the world reserves, currently estimated at 519,000 tons. India plans to use its reserve as a cornerstone in its energy independence plans.
USGS figures put the US and Australia’s reserves at par with India.
The United States has a bill in congress [ S 2093 ] that would allow for Thorium to be better commercialized via “Thorium Bearing Rare Earth Minerals”. A corporate construct called “The Thorium Bank” would be both a physical reserve to store and a financing arm to find and fund uses for Thorium by-products of Rare Earth Refining to Metals.
There are many extremely rich sources of Thorium in the United States. Famous claims such as Lemhi Pass in Idaho USA contains very rich reserves of the critical material.
According to the IAEA, Australia has 489,000 tons which represents 19% of the world reserves. Australia’s government estimates its RAR (Reasonably Assured Reserves) at only 19,000 tons. The United States has the third largest reserves in the world, which is estimated to be about 400 thousand tons or 13% of the world reserves.
The same disparity exists for figures given by the two bodies for Turkey and Brazil with USGS figures being higher than IAEA estimates. Turkey’s total reserves are estimated to be about 344,000 tons or 11% of the world reserves. Venezuela and Brazil are two countries estimated each having 302,000 tons representing a total of 20% of the world reserves. Norway has strong reserves at 132,000 tons, while Russia is estimated to have 111,000 tons, due to the existence of several different mineralogic classes, carbonatite and alkaline-type.
China is known to have large monazite reserves and is a processor and large exporter, but no cross-corroborable sources of their reserves could be found.
- Thorium Statistics and Information. USGS 2020. Available from: https://www.usgs.gov/centers/nmic/thorium-statistics-and-information [4 May 2020].