EDITOR: | October 24th, 2013

Orbite Provides Update on Status and Development Plan for HPA Facility

| October 24, 2013 | No Comments
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Orbite Aluminae Inc.October 24, 2013 (Source: Marketwired) — Orbite Aluminae Inc. (TSX:ORT)(OTCQX:EORBF) (“Orbite” or the “Corporation“) today reported on the present status, development plan and updated budget for completing its high-purity alumina (HPA) production plant in Cap-Chat, Quebec.

HPA Facility – Status Update

Orbite’s High Purity Alumina plant in Cap-Chat, Quebec, continued intermittent production at a capacity of less than 50 kg per day into the month of August. Operations were suspended in August and September to allow the Corporation to complete, on a permanent basis, the installation of the plant utility systems, notably the steam, process air, and waste water treatment systems. Intermittent operations resumed in October to allow the production of commercial (4N+) samples for shipment to prospective customers and the advancement of our product qualification program.

The Corporation is preparing for the finalization of the facility to the 3 tonne per day (tpd) commercial production level. Engineering and Project Management firms have been selected and are ready to engage pending the necessary capital being raised.

Orbite wishes to note that it has no present concerns related to impurities in its process and does not perceive this to be a major issue going forward. The main issue that led to intermittent and reduced output operations is an equipment issue related to calcination, and not a process related issue. The detailed design of a Circulating Fluid Bed (CFB) calcinator has been completed by a supplier for Orbite. The Corporation is evaluating this design as well as other calcination technologies and expects approximately 7 months for calcinator delivery following finalization of the order. This order is expected to be placed within three months following the raising of the necessary capital.

HPA Facility – Updated Budget

The HPA plant is comprised of two major sections, the alumina extraction unit and the alumina purification unit. The extraction unit allows for the recovery of alumina from raw ores such as clay and is based upon Orbite’s initial hydroxide-based process design. The Corporation subsequently developed the chloride-based extraction process which is the technology platform for the production of smelter grade alumina (SGA), the treatment of industrial wastes such as Red Mud and Fly Ash, and the production of other by-products such as hematite, magnesium oxides and silica including rare earth and rare metal oxides. The HPA facility was designed and built with the extraction unit based upon the hydroxide process. Considering the Corporation plans to convert the alumina extraction unit to the chloride based process, it has decided not to invest to fully complete the extraction unit at this time (see HPA Development Plan below). In the interim, the feedstock for the alumina purification unit will be sourced from commercially available products such as smelter-grade alumina, aluminum hydroxide or aluminum from recycled products. All these products are readily available and will not impact operating costs or product quality. Orbite expects it will produce HPA grade product in line with market needs and identical to HPA quality from raw ores.

Accordingly, the projected external capital costs required to complete the construction and commissioning of the HPA Plant, exclusive of the alumina extraction unit, are as follows:

Revised Estimate
(in thousands)
Original Estimate
(in thousands)
Engineering and Project Management $ 2,076 $ 2,540
Material and Equipment, including Calcination System $ 16,015 * $15,090
Labour $ 4,818 $6,660
Contingencies $ 3,436 $4,220
Critical Spare Parts & Specialty Tools $ 2,000 $2,500
Total $ 28,345 $31,010

* Increase in equipment cost reflects firm detailed bid received for calcinator and changes in foreign exchange rates since June.

HPA Facility Development Plan

The updated capital cost estimate provided above represents the investment required to achieve a production capacity of 3 tonnes per day. The requisite engineering analysis and incremental cost estimate to increase the total plant output to 5 tonnes per day is expected to be completed during the first half of 2014 and the incremental capital cost estimate is expected to be reported during the second half of 2014.

The phased development plan for the HPA facility is as follows;

  • Phase 1 – 3 tpd of HPA 

    Expected to be achieved in Q4 2014, based upon a 12 month project execution timeline once the Corporation has raised the necessary capital to proceed.

  • Phase 2a – 5 tpd of HPA 

    Cost estimate and preliminary engineering expected to be completed in H1 2014. Detailed engineering expected to be completed in H2 2014. Orbite expects to proceed to capacity increase in H1, 2015, if the necessary capital is raised.

  • Phase 2b – Conversion of the Alumina Extraction Unit to Chloride Technology 

    Cost estimate and preliminary engineering expected to be completed in H1 2014. Detailed engineering expected to be completed in H2 2014. The Corporation expects to proceed to the conversion of the extraction unit to the chloride process in Q2-Q3, 2015 and concurrently add a scandium and gallium extraction unit.

Once all phases are complete the Corporation expects that the Cap-Chat facility will have the flexibility to use a variety of feed stocks such as commercially available products (smelter-grade alumina, aluminum hydroxide or aluminum from recycled products), aluminous bearing clay from the Grande-Vallée deposit, and red mud residue or fly ash, to produce HPA or SGA and other by-products such as hematite, magnesium oxides, silica and rare earth and rare metal oxides. Thus, in addition to becoming a commercial HPA production facility, the Cap-Chat plant will also serve as a commercial scale demonstration facility for Orbite’s SGA, Red Mud Remediation (RMR) and Fly Ash Remediation (FAR) technologies.

The technical content of this news release has been reviewed and approved by Mr. Denis Arguin, Orbite’s Vice President Engineering and Operations, who is a Qualified Person (QP), as defined by National Instrument 43-101.

Cost and timeline estimates are forward looking statements and are based on information available at the time and/or the Corporation management’s good-faith beliefs with respect to future events and are subject to known or unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other unpredictable factors, many of which are beyond the Corporation’s control. The Corporation continuously evaluates the cost and timeline to completion as events unfolds. In addition, the Corporation will require additional funding to complete its HPA plant. There can be no assurance that the Corporation will be able to obtain additional funding on favourable terms, if at all. These and other risks are disclosed in the section entitled “Risk Factors” and otherwise referenced in our 2013 Q2 MD&A which is available on the Corporation’s website or under the Corporation’s profile on www.sedar.com.

About Orbite

Orbite Aluminae Inc. is a Canadian cleantech company whose innovative and proprietary processes are expected to produce alumina and other high-value by-products, such as rare earth and rare metal oxides, at one of the lowest costs in the industry, and in a sustainable fashion, using feedstocks that include aluminous clay, kaolin, nepheline, bauxite, red mud and fly ash. Orbite is currently finalizing its first commercial high-purity alumina (HPA) production plant in Cap-Chat, Québec and has completed the basic engineering for a proposed smelter-grade alumina (SGA) production plant, which would use clay mined from its Grande-Vallée deposit. The Corporation’s intellectual property portfolio contains 15 intellectual property families, and the Corporation owns the intellectual property rights to 10 patents and 46 pending patent applications in 10 different countries. The first intellectual property family is patented in Canada, USA, Australia, China, and Russia.

Forward-looking statements

Certain information contained in this document may include “forward-looking information”. Without limiting the foregoing, the information and any forward-looking information may include statements regarding projects, costs, objectives and future returns of the Corporation or hypotheses underlying these items. In this document, words such as “may”, “would”, “could”, “will”, “likely”, “believe”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “plan”, “estimate” and similar words and the negative form thereof are used to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of whether, or the times at or by which, such future performance will be achieved. Forward-looking statements and information are based on information available at the time and/or the Corporation management’s good-faith beliefs with respect to future events and are subject to known or unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other unpredictable factors, many of which are beyond the Corporation’s control. These risks uncertainties and assumptions include, but are not limited to, those described in the section of the Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) entitled “Risk and Uncertainties” as filed on August 9, 2013 on SEDAR, and could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statements. The Corporation does not intend, nor does it undertake, any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information or statements contained in this document to reflect subsequent information, events or circumstances or otherwise, except as required by applicable laws.


Raj Shah

Editor:

Raj Shah has professional experience working for over a half a dozen years at financial firms such as Merrill Lynch and First Allied Securities Inc., ... <Read more about Raj Shah>


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