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Altair Nanotechnologies and Bateman Engineering Announce Joint Venture


Company Formed to Respond to Pigment Producer Demands
in $9 Billion Market


 

RENO, NV -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 04/05/2005 -- Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALTI), a developer and manufacturer of innovative advanced ceramic nanomaterial products, today announced that it has signed a binding memorandum of understanding with Bateman Engineering BV to form a strategic joint venture. The new venture, "Altairnano-Bateman Titania, Inc." will leverage Altair's proprietary and patented titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment manufacturing process and Bateman's engineering expertise to focus on the worldwide development and manufacture of pigment products and services. Altairnano-Bateman Titania will be a U.S.-based company, headquartered in Nevada.

"We are now in comprehensive discussions with prospective customers located in Africa, the Pacific Rim and North America," commented Altair Chief Executive Officer Dr. Alan J. Gotcher. "They are demanding a complete service from raw material qualification through plant design, construction and commissioning. Altair and Bateman have teamed together to meet these requirements."

"The establishment of Altairnano-Bateman Titania will play a pivotal role for Altair to move from feasibility to plant design and construction," said Dr. Gotcher. "The joint venture is part of the execution of our business strategy -- which is for Altair to out-license its AHPP technology platform for the manufacturing of titanium dioxide pigment in return for a royalty on product sales. The pigment industry in emerging growth countries is underserved. The $9 billion industry, with an annual growth rate of approximately three percent, boasts an almost 13 percent annual growth rate in emerging growth countries as their needs for paint, plastics and paper increase. If the venture is successful, the combination of the licensing of our AHPP process combined with Bateman's ability to engineer and manufacture the production facilities has the potential to generate significant revenue streams for both companies."

Altair brings the technical resources and manufacturing process technology, and Bateman brings its worldwide recognized expertise in chemical manufacturing plant design and project management. Of particular relevance to the potential customers of Altair's process is Bateman's reputation for providing high value added services including close ties to major project funding sources.

The joint venture will be funded entirely by Altair and Bateman, with each having equal shareholding and voting control. The joint venture company's objective is to deliver services to clients including feasibility work, design, construction, commissioning and potentially the operation of mineral processing or pigment manufacturing plants. Altairnano-Bateman Titania will be jointly managed, with the board of directors comprising members from each company.

"We are pleased to announce this new strategic relationship with Altair," said, Stephen F. Burks, Chief Technology Officer of Bateman Engineering. "We are seeing tremendous demand from emerging countries, who aim to shift their business model from that of importers of pigment to one of manufacturing and potentially exportation. Altair's unique, environmentally-friendly process is a perfect complement to our implementation capabilities as we strive to serve this unmet need."

Bateman is recognized as an international leader in both engineering and finance circles for its expertise in the execution of feasibility work and the design, construction, and commissioning of mineral processing plants. They reported revenues of approximately US$ 317 million in 2002, the last year as a publicly listed company, representing a 23 percent growth over 2001.

The Altair Hydrochloride Pigment Process (AHPP) is the first new, commercially viable pigment production process in nearly half a century delivering a cost effective, environmentally friendly method to manufacture pigment -- a $9 billion a year worldwide market. The Altair Process enables existing pigment producers, as well as those companies wishing to enter the market, a licensable technology providing the manufacturers control over the cost of the pigment. The Altair Process is receiving wide attention, especially in the emerging economies of the world. Attractive to these geographies is the fact that the Altair Process may be economic for smaller quantity plants (for example 30,000 tons a year) unlike previous generation processes. This feature also provides appeal to specialist pigment producers.

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is the most widely used white pigment in the world. Coatings, plastics, ceramics, inks, and fibers all depend on white pigments to impart color and opacity. This is accomplished either as part of a surface coating such as in paints or by incorporation into the materials themselves such as in plastics or fibers. The total market for titanium dioxide pigment is over 3,500,000 metric tons per year with an annual market value of approximately $9 billion.

The Altair Hydrochloride Pigment Process (AHPP)

Altair's proprietary AHPP technology is a comprehensive process for producing white titanium dioxide pigment from a variety of feedstocks 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. Companies such as Western Oil Sands are already utilizing Altair's Hydrochloride Pigment Process on a feasibility basis to extract heavy minerals from oil sands in Alberta, Canada and produce titanium dioxide pigment.

BATEMAN ENGINEERING BV

Bateman is an innovative solutions provider to the natural-resources industry internationally, providing a comprehensive blend of skills comprising process-orientated engineering, specialist niche technologies, financial and commercial facilitation and contracting and project management. It operates under the Bateman banner, providing total solutions for the conversion of natural resources into marketable products. Bateman has been involved in a number of beach sands and hard rock projects and studies involving the upgrade of ilmenite and other minerals, since 1991. Work has been done for several well known mining companies in that time, including Anglo American, Kumba Resources and WMC. Currently, Bateman is involved in a US$220 million lump sum turnkey contract for the Moma mineral sands project in Mozambique on behalf of Kenmare Resources. For more information, visit www.batemanbv.com.

ALTAIR NANOTECHNOLOGIES INC.

Altair Nanotechnologies, through product innovation, is a leading supplier of advanced ceramic nanomaterial technology worldwide. Altair Nanotechnologies has assembled a unique team of material scientists which, coupled with collaborative ventures with industry partners and leading academic centers, has pioneered an impressive array of intellectual property and product achievements.

Altair Nanotechnologies has developed robust proprietary technology platforms for manufacturing a variety of crystalline and non-crystalline nanomaterials of unique structure, performance, quality and cost. The company has a scalable manufacturing capability to meet emerging nanomaterials demands, with capacity today to produce hundreds of tons of nanomaterials.

The company is organized into two divisions: Life Sciences and Performance Materials. The Life Sciences Division is pursuing market applications in pharmaceuticals, drug delivery, dental materials, cosmetics and other medical markets. The Performance Materials Division is pursuing market applications in Advanced Materials for paints and coatings; titanium metal manufacturing, catalysts and water treatment; and alternative energy. For additional information on Altair and its nanomaterials, visit www.altairnano.com.

Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc.®, Altair Nanomaterials™, Altairnano™, TiNano®, RenaZorb™, NanoCheck™, TiNano Spheres™ and the Hydrochloride Pigment Process™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc.

For Additional Bateman Information:
Stephen F. Burks
Bateman Engineering
+27.(0)11.899.2756
steve.burks@batemanbv.com

For Additional Altair Information:
Marty Tullio or Mark Tullio
McCloud Communications, LLC
+1.949.553.9748
marty@mccloudcommunications.com
mark@mccloudcommunications.com

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This story has been adapted from a news release -
Diese Meldung basiert auf einer Pressemitteilung -
Deze tekst is gebaseerd op een nieuwsbericht -

 


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