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Altair Nanotechnologies and Western Oil Sands Extend Phase One of Technology Licensing Agreement
Thursday December 29, 9:45 am ET

Extension of Phase One Program to Generate Revenue of Approximately $700,000

RENO, NV--(MARKET WIRE)--Dec 29, 2005 -- Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. today announced that Western Oil Sands has extended the Phase I program of its technology agreement with Altairnano for an additional 12 months. Phase IB is now anticipated to be completed by January 2007. The extension of the Phase I program (Phase IB) is expected to generate additional revenues in excess of $700,000.

Altairnano entered into a technology licensing agreement with Western Oil Sands Inc., in January 2004 to use the Altairnano Hydrochloride Pigment process (AHP) for extracting titanium from heavy minerals from oil sands in Alberta, Canada, to produce titanium dioxide pigment. Altairnano entered into an additional agreement with Western Oil Sands in August 2005 to provide pilot plant and office space within Altairnano's facilities for five Western Oil Sands' employees and consultants. This agreement has facilitated on-site collaboration between the two companies and furthered the engineering study of manufacturing TiO2 pigment from Western's oil sand tailings using Altairnano's proprietary AHP process.

Under the terms of the extended Phase IB agreement, the two companies will expand the current investigation to prove the processing technology for recovering contained values from the Albian solvent recovery process tailings. This work is designed to demonstrate the feasibility of recycling hot water to recover residual asphaltene byproducts for further processing, producing a heavy mineral concentrate for further upgrading to salable zircon, rutile, and separating out ilmenite to produce TiO2 pigment. The outcome of Phase IB will be a preliminary technical evaluation and feasibility study.

"This project is an excellent next step demonstration of Altairnano's AHP process," commented Altairnano President and CEO Alan J. Gotcher, Ph.D. "The tailings contain an estimated 10 percent heavy minerals, as compared to 2-4 percent typical in heavy mineral sand deposits worldwide. In addition to producing titanium dioxide pigment, the project will evaluate the economics to extract and sell zircon, rutile and to monetize valuable asphaltenes byproducts that are not currently being exploited."

"Western Oil Sands is an excellent technology partner for Altairnano's AHP process as the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP) had an average production of approximately 165,000 barrels of oil per day for successive quarters in 2005," added Dr. Gotcher.

The Altairnano AHP Process

Altairnano's proprietary AHP process technology is a comprehensive process for producing white titanium dioxide pigment from a variety of feedstock including hard rock ilmenite ore. It includes a novel combination of processes that extract, purify and form high quality white titanium dioxide pigment. Distinctive features of the process include projected lower operating costs, minimized environmental and health risks and the recycling of all the chemical additives used in the process. The patented technology has also provided Altairnano the unique ability to produce a wide variety of nanomaterials with narrow particle size control, chemical purity and particle morphology, at reasonably priced tonnage qualities.


Western Oil Sands is a Canadian oil sands corporation which holds a 20 percent undivided interest in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP) together with its partners Shell Canada Limited (60 per cent) and Chevron Canada Limited (20 per cent). The Common Shares of Western are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "WTO." For additional information on Western Oil Sands, please visit


Altairnano is a leading supplier and innovator of advanced ceramic nanomaterial technology. Based in Reno, Nevada, Altairnano has assembled a unique team of materials scientists who, coupled in collaborative ventures with industry partners and leading academic centers, have pioneered an array of intellectual property and products.

Altairnano's robust proprietary technology platforms produce a variety of crystalline and non-crystalline nanomaterials of unique structure, performance, quality and cost. The company has scalable manufacturing capability to meet emerging nanomaterials demands. Altairnano's two divisions, Life Sciences and Performance Materials, are focused on applications where its nanotechnology may enable new high growth markets. The Life Sciences Division is pursuing market applications in pharmaceuticals, drug delivery, dental materials and other medical markets. The Performance Materials Division is focused on market applications in advanced materials for paints and coatings; air and water treatment and alternative energy including new lithium ion battery electrode materials. For additional information on Altairnano and its nanomaterials, visit

Source: Altair Nanotechnologies

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