Orbite Announces Successful Development of High-Purity Silica Process
MONTREAL, Sept. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Orbite Aluminae (TSX: ORT; OTCQX: EORBF) (the “Company” or “Orbite“) today announced that, leveraging its patented processes for high-purity and smelter-grade alumina production, the Company has developed a purification technology to purify silica based on its hydrochloric acid leaching process. This development allows the Company to purify silica to the 99.9% (3N) level and provides a conceptual base to eventually reach purities of 99.999% (5N) to 99.99999% (7N).
“We are very proud of this technological development,” stated Denis Primeau, the Company’s Chief Engineer. “Utilizing Orbite’s existing processes, we can now take a product that was already at acceptable levels of purity – 96% – up to levels of 3N and greater, making it a value added product.”
Worldwide, metallurgical grade silica consumption was 1.37 billion metric tonnes in 2009 and 2.02 billion metric tonnes in 2010. Metallurgical grade silica of greater than 99.99% purity is used to manufacture photovoltaic cells and other high-technology products. In 2009, metallurgical grade silica was selling for approximately $3 per kilogram and higher quality silica (5N-7N) was selling for approximately $35 per kilogram.
Mr. Richard Boudreault, President and CEO of Orbite, added, “This is an important breakthrough, particularly considering that silica will be a by-product of our SGA and HPA plants and could provide a higher commercial value than we had anticipated. Our PEA assumption was for low-grade silica sold at a $25 per tonne.”
Silica is present in virtually all the raw materials used within the Orbite process, and it provides an additional source of potential revenue for the Company. Since the process is well-suited to purify silica – and given the high proportion of silica in Orbite’s Grande-Valle clay deposit – Orbite may become a significant producer of purified silica for mass production applications (e.g., cement, optical glass, etc.) as well as for specialty products, photovoltaic applications, electro-optics, and other industries.
Orbite’s high-purity alumina (HPA) plant, on track to be completed by the end of 2012, is expected to produce silica of greater than 99.9% purity. The Company’s smelter-grade alumina (SGA) plant, projected to begin its first phase of operations in 2014, will have the potential to produce up to 1.2 million tonnes of silica ranging from 95% to more than 99.9% at maximum capacity.
Orbite’s silica purification technology was developed in-house. The projected recovery rate of silica within Orbite’s global process is now 99.97% and with known methods could reach 5N to 7N levels. The chemical analyses were obtained by an independent laboratory (AGAT Laboratories) while the physical characteristics were evaluated by the independent group Tekna.
The technical content in this press release has been reviewed and approved by Denis Primeau, Eng., a “qualified person” pursuant to National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure of Mineral Projects (NI 43-101). Mr. Primeau is the Chief Engineer of Orbite, and as such, is not independent pursuant to NI 43-101.
Orbite Aluminae Inc. is 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. The Company owns eleven different families of intellectual property rights (and patents pending) filed across the world for the extraction of alumina at the highest standards of sustainability. Orbite also owns exclusive mining rights over a total of 60,984 hectares, including the 6,665-hectare Grande-Valle property, the site of an aluminous clay deposit in Quebec, Canada. An NI 43-101 compliant report identified over 1 billion tonnes of aluminous clay in part of this deposit. Orbite is currently converting its 2,600 m(2) pilot plant in Cap-Chat, Quebec, Canada, into a full-scale high-purity alumina production facility, and expects this plant to be fully operational in early 2013. The Company also anticipates the launch of construction of its first SGA plant towards the end of 2013. Orbite plans to offer SGA and HPA products and to license its low processing cost technologies to well-qualified producers who want to reduce their environmental footprint. Orbite has recently entered into partnerships with the world’s largest aluminum producer, UC Rusal.
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 Company 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 Company 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 Company’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 March 22, 2012 on SEDAR, and could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statements. The Company 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.
SOURCE Orbite Aluminae