Orbite ramps up alumina production in Canada

Exploration Orbite announced that the production mode of alumina has shifted from a batch process a to semi-continuous process. This acceleration in production will allow the company to meet industry and partner demand as well as prepare for the transition of the plant towards a commercial High-Purity Alumina (HPA) production facility. This additional production capability will make full use of Orbite’s patented process and demonstrate the process’s potential to operate within full-scale industrial conditions over three daily shifts allowing for continuous production.

Recent tests and analyses carried out by independent organizations such as SINTEF and INRS, have confirmed that the physicochemical properties of Orbite’s alumina material meet or exceed the standard specifications of the aluminum smelter industry. These specifications, which include bulk density, particle size and specific surface, are specific to the aluminum smelter industry.

These results are further confirmed by the recent production of a high-quality aluminum ingot. SINTEF and INRS, both recognized centers of reference for the aluminum industry, have reported the excellent quality of aluminum produced by Orbite alumina as well as comparable behavior under cell electrolysis conditions with competitor alumina resulting from the Bayer process.

Production at Orbite’s plant used the first 400 tons of the aluminous clay bulk sample collected from the deposit located 23 km south of Grande-Vallee in 2010. A new bulk sample of over 3,000 tons has recently been extracted and will be shipped to the Cap-Chat plant. This sample will enable the continued operations of the facility for approximately an additional 12 months.

The alumina, alumina hydrates and aluminum leachate samples have been used in producing external tests and analyses with research centers of excellence in Canada and in Europe, in the production of aluminum products and samples, for third party validation and testing with engineering development partners in Canada and abroad, for the continuous testing as well as for economic optimization.

Over the last few months, the equipment at the Cap-Chat plant has also been operated to successfully test the extraction potential of alumina from samples of bauxite, kaolin and other aluminous ores from regions around the world. These tests, performed for various aluminum firms and mining deposit owners have demonstrated the potential to adapt the Orbite patented extraction process to broader ore value-added chains. This is leading to further discussions about the opportunity for licensing agreements with third party users.

Orbite owns 100 percent of the mining rights on approximately 6,400 hectares of a Grande-Vallee property, the site of an aluminous clay deposit located 23 km to the south of Grande-Vallee, and a 28,000 sq. ft. full scale redundant line pilot plant in Cap Chat, in the Gaspe region.