SCOTTSDALE, Ar., July 8, /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Imagine the Chief Executive Officer of a successful mining company getting into his pickup truck, literally tossing a shovel into the back of it, driving south some eight hundred miles into the middle of the high desert of Juab County, Utah, and shoveling more than a ton of dirt into the bed of his truck. Sound implausible? Further imagine that same executive then continuing his southbound trek, driving another nine hundred miles at speeds slower than the checkout lines at your local warehouse membership store, for the sole purpose of having that ton of soil processed in such a manner that it is now usable, for testing purposes only, to a company that might buy more if the sample tests meet their needs. Sound like a typical week for any Chief Executives you know? Meet William T. Jacobson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atlas Mining Company (OTC Bulletin Board: ALMI). Bill recently made just that trek. Starting at the company headquarters in Osburn, Idaho and ending up in Yuma, Arizona to have his ton of halloysite clay processed, Jacobson spent almost a week on the road, nearly two thousand miles from home, so he could deliver a very special payload to microtube experts introduced to him by contacts at Montana State University. ''Sometimes there's just no other way to get a job like this done,'' said Jacobson. A hands-on executive, Jacobson has been President and CEO of Atlas Mining Company since August of 1997. Prior to that he held the position of Secretary/Treasurer. Bill has worked directly in the mining industry for the past 14 years. He has also spent 15 years in the banking industry, serving the mining industry. ''I put myself through school like many students do in this part of Idaho. I worked as a miner,'' Jacobson said matter-of-factly. It's no wonder he'd grab a shovel and just start digging. Bill graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Idaho in 1971, and is a member of the Northwest Mining Association. What's so special about a truckload of soil from the middle of the Utah desert? ''If it was just dirt,'' explained Jacobson, ''then nothing. However, this soil was extracted from our Dragon Mine in Utah, and it is loaded with a unique mineral known as halloysite.'' Halloysite is a mineral made up primarily of Aluminum, Silicon, and Oxygen. In fact, the Dragon Mine is only the second known deposit of such commercially viable clay. The only other location is in New Zealand. By comparison, the purity and quality of the Dragon Mine halloysite is unmatched anywhere in the world, which has spawned interest in this particular mineral deposit into areas of cutting edge research and development. The company had originally sought the rights to mine the halloysite because of the opportunities in the existing halloysite markets. To this point the primary commercial use for halloysite has been in the manufacture of fine china, bone china, and other porcelain and ceramic products. ''However, scientists quickly discovered there were several new uses for the processed mineral. It's these new potential uses, which will dominate sales,'' Jacobson was quick to point out. So, why is there so much excitement about this particular cache of halloysite coursing through the industrial minerals community? ''Halloysite is a dense mineral, very rich in microtubes. Picture a grain of rice, only considerably smaller and hollow,'' Jacobson continued to explain. ''The halloysite microtubes act as time-release capsules, which dissolve over time. These tubes, which measure between 0.7 and 40 microns in diameter, can be filled with such agents as antifouling or anti-barnacle compounds in paint, antiscalants, herbicides, pest repellents, and other agents, all of which benefit from a controlled release.'' Halloysite, generally white in appearance, can sometimes appear yellowish white, reddish white, brownish white, or greenish white. During the past several months, the company has sent samples of its products to two different ceramics users, two paint manufacturers and two international distributors. ''Through our contacts with the Montana State University TechLink Center, we have learned that our clay may soon have a greater number of uses and potential markets than was originally expected,'' said Jacobson. Montana State University's TechLink Center, has been hired by the US Government to find industrial and commercial uses for government patents. One such patent, invented by Atlas Mining Advisory Board member Dr. Ron Price, is the use of microtubules in a variety of applications from vitamins to paints. The technology has been advanced to the stage that researchers have found the Dragon Mine halloysite, known as Phlosite HP, is the best source of natural microtubes available. Although these microtubes can be produced synthetically, researchers have determined that due to its unique microstructure, halloysite clay from the Dragon Mine in Utah may be the preferred source because it is naturally derived, and is non-toxic. Jacobson continued, ''Scientists have created a completely new method of controlled release using microtubules made from halloysite clay. In one case, US Navy researchers have utilized microtubes to add anti-barnacle agents to the paint it uses on the hulls of its ships. The microtubules are filled with an anti-barnacle agent, which is slowly released over time." Several U.S. companies are currently looking at microtubes for applications ranging from agricultural chemicals to paints to household products. In addition to the agricultural and textile interests, biotech and nano- tech companies have shown a keen interest in the Dragon Mine halloysite. The time-release attributes are of a very high interest to companies currently researching the deployment of nano technology. ''One example of nano-technology," explained Jacobson, "is something known as nano-structured surface coating. Nano-technologists believe they can create a surface coating that can do things never before possible. For instance, one coating currently being researched and developed is known as super-hydrophobic, which means this particular surface coating can make an item so water resistant that water will literally bounce off it. This might someday make windshields that never need windshield wipers, or clothes that could be worn underwater and remain dry. Time-release is a critical attribute when considering a surface coating of this nature.'' That may sound like fantastic or outrageous technology, but it's being taken very seriously as research and development efforts of nano-technology are beginning to explode, worldwide. For nano-technologists interested in being able to control the time-release agents of their technology, the microtubes found in the Dragon Mine halloysite may provide the perfect solution. ''Scientists can control the time-release attributes of the microtubes by simply manipulating the length of the tubes,'' said Jacobson. ''The longer the duration sought, the longer they make the tubes.'' So, exactly how much is the clay at the Dragon Mine worth? How about as much as $300,000,000 in revenue over the life of the mine? ''We have between 300,000 and 525,000 tons of usable clay,'' said Jacobson. ''We expect to get between $450 and $1,000 per ton, and have enough clay to sustain mining operations for the next seven to twenty years, depending on demand.'' The next time you see an old pickup truck chugging along at Sunday afternoon speeds, weighted down with a bed full of soil, consider the fact that it just might be the Chief Executive of a successful mining company out taking care of a very important sales call. If the driver has a smile on his face, it could be Bill Jacobson -- or possibly one of his shareholders. NOTES TO EDITORS The above was written by John Roskelley, who is a professional writer. Mr. Roskelley is the President of First Global Media, an Investor Relations/Public Relations firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, and has been retained by Atlas Mining to provide IR services. He was not paid by any party to write this story. Mr. Roskelley can be reached at +1-480-902-3110.
SOURCE First Global Media