EDITOR: | November 19th, 2013 | 5 Comments

Introducing a cleaner, more sustainable way to produce Aluminum

| November 19, 2013 | 5 Comments
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Orbite Aluminae (TSX: ORT) | (OTCQX: EORBF), led by President/CEO/Director Richard Boudreault, Executive Vice-President/CEO Glenn Kelly and Vice-President Engineering/Operations Denis Arguin, describes itself as “a Canadian cleantech company whose innovative technologies are setting the new standard for alumina production. Orbite technologies enable environmentally-neutral extraction of smelter-grade alumina (SGA), high-purity alumina (HPA) and high-value elements, including rare earths and rare metals, from a variety of sources such as aluminous clay and bauxite, without generating the toxic red mud residue that the traditional Bayer process produces.”

Orbite’s flagship property in Gaspé, Québec comprises 115 claims covering 6,441 hectares. The company notes that an independent NI-43-101 compliant report indicates “the presence of a highly homogeneous aluminous clay deposit – an unusual and extensive rock formation – with an average grade of 23.13% alumina.”

After analyzing results from Orbite’s pilot plant, the estimated volumes on    the Marin site range (The Marin sector being one of three sectors of high-alumina content thus far delineated) range from 400 – 500 million cubic metres, Orbite states that these volumes can now fall under the classification of “Indicated Resources”.

Alumina (Aluminum Oxide) is found in bauxite – an aluminum ore, and in aluminous clays like those found at Orbite’s Grande-Valée property.  Much bauxite is now shipped from distant locations around the globe to regional smelters.  Orbite’s strategic planning involves supplying a portion of the Quebec market at prices competitive with imported alumina. This could help reduce the Province’s import needs, keeping more money within the local economy.

The Company owns 14 different families of intellectual property rights/patents pending, regarding the extraction of alumina.  It is entirely possible that other producers globally may, at some point, decide to license Orbite’s technology in order to produce their own aluminum more cheaply and at smaller cost to the environment.

Extraction trials involving Orbite’s alumina to aluminum production protocols were conducted and finalized in the laboratory in 2004 leading to the Company’s deposit of its first patent application in 2007.  The experiments demonstrated successful extraction of over 95% of the alumina found in the aluminous clay, extraction of high purity alumina of 99.8% before optimization, and low loss recycling of leaching solutions.

Note Orbite’s plant and properties’ proximity to America’s largest aluminum smelters

Note Orbite’s plant and properties’ proximity to America’s largest aluminum smelters

Orbite purchased an existing building in which to install an alumina extraction pilot production plant, and in 2011 produced its first tonne of alumina. The Company intends to build a 7,000 tpd smelting-grade facility in order to fully develop its nearby mine operations. Once this first plant has been successfully commissioned, Orbite could embark upon building a series of them, supplying and “thus displacing a significant portion of the $3 billion in alumina Québec imports annually, and thereafter begin addressing export markets in Europe and the North Atlantic.”

In this project, it is of note that Orbite had the support of Aluminerie Alouette – which having a 550,000 metric tonne production capacity per year – is the largest aluminum smelter in the Americas.

In late October, 2013, Orbite provided an update on its high-purity alumina (HPA) production plant as part of the process of preparing for the facility’s finalization to a 3 tonne/day production level.  This work will require additional funding to complete.

At the apex of the alumina market is High-purity alumina (99.99%+), a specialty alumina which is even purer than metallurgical alumina.  Its price rose from $15/kg in 2006 to an average of almost $400/kg a few years later. Orbite intends to focus on this higher value-added market segment. Among the products which use High-purity alumina, are high-pressure sodium vapour lamp tubes for city street lighting, synthetic sapphires for use in fiber optic communications, and high tech industrial lasers.

Alumina + Rare Earths:

The Company believes its patented process for extracting alumina from aluminous clay could also be used to extract rare earths from the same source.  A feasibility study has not yet been undertaken, but Orbite has filed a provisional U.S. patent application.

Orbite’s extraction process uses less energy, generates less pollution, and leaves no caustic byproducts.  If/as the Company succeeds at supplying market share to producers, the overall impact will be to lessen the need to ship as much bauxite to regional smelters from distant global locales.

An Orbite Aluminae Ladder for Success?

Some or all of the following possibilities could become realities:

  • Produce alumina from aluminous clay locally, using less energy and creating less pollution.
  • Smelt alumina on Site.
  • Become an alumina supplier to regional smelters.
  • Build locally, and/or lease the technology in other areas, additional, scalable ore production/smelting facilities.
  • Extraction/Marketing of several Rare Earth Elements (REEs) from the Company’s same aluminous clay sources.

In the mining business, as in most other operations, simple, clearly-stated goals and operating principles, based upon a sound premise, can go a long ways towards informing others of what’s taking place, and indeed increase materially, the possibility of operational success.   Orbit’s statement, posted on its site here in its “White Papers” section is as follows:

“While our business is considered complex by many, our vision is clear – to leverage our advanced technology to cleanly extract alumina and other elements from the earth, meeting rising industry demand.  Orbite’s proprietary process for alumina extraction does not produce toxic red mud, as do conventional methods; our non-polluting technology recovers a high percentage of alumina and other minerals found therein.”


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Comments

  • David

    DISCOVERY
    “All truth passes through three stages.
    First, it is ridiculed.
    Second, it is violently opposed.
    Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
    German Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer

    “The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.“ Peter Diamandis

    “Orbite is a concrete example of the power of imagination leading to the conception of new technologies for the benefit of industry and the environment.

    I believe Orbite is much more than another industrial company; it’s a reference point for others: its people are inventors, unafraid of complexity, creating technologies that will enable sustainable economic development for the benefit of all and the environment.”

    Mr. Decary, Independent Orbite Aluminae Board Member and Senior Executive Vice President for Germany, Eastern Europe and Asia and Director at Veolia Environmental Services.

    November 19, 2013 - 1:46 PM

  • J. Best

    What a great article and what a great company. Really enjoyed this article David. Love a company with a real passion and a dream and love this last quote: “While our business is considered complex by many, our vision is clear – to leverage our advanced technology to cleanly extract alumina and other elements from the earth, meeting rising industry demand. Orbite’s proprietary process for alumina extraction does not produce toxic red mud, as do conventional methods; our non-polluting technology recovers a high percentage of alumina and other minerals found therein.” Love to see an interview…I have a feeling that much like the interview with Kevin Cassidy of U.S. Rare Earth Resources, one cannot really appreciate the passion until they see it for themselves. I will be sharing this article!

    November 19, 2013 - 2:23 PM

  • David Smith

    Mr. Decary,
    Your comments about the uphill battle entrepreneurs face as they work to bring an idea into reality is quite correct. Virtually all material accomplishments begin in the mind – and until they become real, those who seek to bridge that gap must be sustained by the powers of focus, adjustment and perseverance.

    November 19, 2013 - 2:30 PM

  • David

    Inspite of the rough patch that they seem to have recently gone through, with the very hard lessons that have been learnt, the new streamlining and prioritisation taking place and the new support and validation that they have got from a well-recognised and humble ‘Wall Street genius” and ‘Financial Prodigy”, Orbite Aluminae and its partners could very easily be very globally dominant companies in the near future.

    When one properly analyses what their technology could do, beyond the extraction of alumina, rare earths, rare metals and other mineral oxides like titania and high purity silica, one gets astounded. One person commented that they had hit on mother-nature’s ore-formation process / equation and could now unbalance this equation and economically extract virtually the whole periodic table, if they wanted to, through one process. And they are just at the beginning of it all.
    .
    When they prove the commerciality of their technology in about 18 months time or less, there will most likely be a stampede for them – in some form or another. Some are not ruling out a grandfather of a bidding war – which may be pitting nation (s) against nation (s) (of course through proxy-companies).

    Disclaimer: I could be called an Orbite Aluminae fanatic.

    November 19, 2013 - 2:41 PM

  • Sunnyvale

    JB,
    I seem to recall 2 interviews with Orbite, but I can only find one from April:

    http://investorintel.wpengine.com/rare-earth-tv/orbite-aluminaes-global-patents-drive-changes-to-the-alumina-industry/

    November 19, 2013 - 4:09 PM

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