SANTIAGO, Chile, Sept. 25, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- White Mountain Titanium Corporation ("White Mountain" or the "Company") (OTCQB:WMTM) is pleased to announce that Chinuka Limited plc ("Chinuka"), a UK registered research and development company, has been granted a full patent on its proprietary Chinuka Process in the U.K. In compliance with The 1977 Patent Act, the grant has been issued as Serial Number GB2472496. Chinuka is awaiting further grants from International Patent authorities to cover and protect the Chinuka Process in North America, Brazil, Chile, China, Russia and other Asian countries. A master license to the Chinuka Process is held by a Hong Kong registered intellectual property marketing company, La Serena Technologies Limited ("La Serena"). La Serena licensed the Chinuka Process to White Mountain in 2010 for use at its Cerro Blanco titanium project in Chile ("Cerro Blanco").
The Chinuka Process was specifically developed to produce refined titanium metal directly from rutile concentrate in a continuous process (as compared with the older, established Kroll Process which produces sponge titanium from titanium tetrachloride in a batch process.) The Chinuka Process uses molten salt, electro-refining technology developed by Professor Derek Fray of the University of Cambridge in the UK. Under Professor Fray's direction, over the past 3 years the Chinuka Process has been successfully tested on Cerro Blanco pilot plant rutile concentrate feedstock resulting in the production of high quality titanium metal. The resultant titanium metal has been present both as plated metal on the cathode and as metal powder (the latter being the highest value product.) In addition to rutile, the Chinuka Process has been tested on ilmenite and niobium concentrate and future plans include testing the applicability of the technology for refining tantalum and rare earth metals from concentrate. Based on test work to-date, it appears that the Chinuka Process may find applications beyond refined titanium metal, and hence the study of other metals that have the ability to form an oxy-carbide.