EXPLORATION ORBITE V.S.P.A. INC.
TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE: ORT.A
MONTREAL, Feb. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Exploration Orbite (ORT.A) has begun operations at its pilot production
facility in Cap-Chat, Quebec. This event is both a critical turning
point in Orbite's history and a major step towards the production of
the company's first ton of alumina. In addition, this stage of the
project was completed on budget and ahead of schedule.
The team's next priority is to complete the production of the first ton
"I'm very impressed by everything our team has accomplished to date and
I'm completely confident that our efforts will soon be rewarded with
the first ton of alumina produced at the pilot production facility,"
stated company president Richard Boudreault.
Mr. Boudreault was delighted to hear the comments of the engineers
working on the pilot production facility and the production process
launch. According to professional engineer Dominique Morin, VP of
engineering at SENECA Experts Conseil, the engineering consultation
firm hired by Orbite to handle the pilot project: "We started up the
facility and launched operations in record time, thanks in large part
to the outstanding teamwork and dedication of the team put together by
Orbite's management. This facility is now ready to carry out its
primary mission of demonstrating of an innovative process to extract
alumina from aluminous clays."
The pilot production facility will make it possible to optimize process
parameters and production costs and develop the design for a proposed
full-scale production facility. It will also serve to evaluate and
improve economic parameters and minimize technological risks.
Operating this facility will play a key role in demonstrating the
economic realm of the Grande-Vallée project and Orbite's patented
The next step is to continue the successful operation of the pilot
production facility and the completion of feasibility studies as
required by Regulation 43-101, leading to the design of a facility
capable of producing at least 500 tons/day of metallurgical alumina as
well as the supporting mine operations. Once the pilot production
facility has completed its mandate, it will be adapted to produce
Exploration Orbite V.S.P.A. Inc. owns 100% of the mining rights on the
Grande-Vallée property, the site of an aluminous clay deposit located
32 km northeast of Murdochville in the Gaspé region. The company also
owns the rights to a process for extracting alumina from aluminous
clays, a process that is the subject of a pending international patent
and already under patent in Canada and the United States. www.explorationorbite.com
Orbite Exploration V.S.P.A. Inc.
Why is Alumina Important?
The world needs aluminum, the second most used metal after steel.
Aluminum is made from aluminum oxide, commonly called alumina. World
production of aluminum was 37 million metric tons in 2009, and Alcoa,
which had projected a growth rate of 6% per year through the decade,
reported 13% growth in demand for 2010 and now forecasts 12% growth for
Each ton of aluminum requires approximately two tons of alumina. So
millions of tons of metallurgical alumina must be imported each year
over thousands of kilometers to supply Quebec's aluminum smelters.
The Global Ultra Pure Alumina Market
Eight percent of the alumina produced is sold on markets other than
aluminum metal markets. This represented 6.2 million tons in 2008.
Orbite intends to focus on the highest value added segment of this
non-metallurgical alumina market, approximately one thousand tons of
ultra-pure―99.99% pure and over―alumina a year.
Ultra-pure alumina is used to make artificial sapphires and rubies for
fiber optic communications systems, substrates for integrated circuits
and light emitting diodes (LEDs), the coating of missile nose cones,
ultra-pure nanomaterials, and bioceramics for prostheses and implants.
Prices for ultra-pure alumina are much higher than for metallurgical
grade, but order sizes are smaller.
The Orbite Solution: Produce Alumina in Quebec from Aluminous Clay Using
a Unique Process
It has long been known that alumina can be refined from aluminous clay
deposits, but this possibility is rarely exploited because the quality
and cost of the resulting alumina has not been competitive with that of
alumina produced from bauxite using the Bayer process.
Orbite has a large homogenous and strategically located clay deposit in
Quebec with an average grade of 23% to 26% alumina, as well as a unique
patented process to produce metallurgical alumina from aluminous clay.
This can potentially replace two to three billion dollars of imported
alumina and supply high value added, ultra-pure alumina to the world
market as well as other high value substances in the clay, including
certain rare earths and semiconductor materials.
The development of a competitive domestic alumina supply is of great
strategic importance for the Quebec aluminum industry, which is
dependent on the security of offshore resources. Replacing imported
alumina would increase Quebec's GDP by up to 3%.
The Grande Vallée Property
Orbite owns the mineral rights to the 3,500 hectare Grande Vallée
property, which is strategically located 32 km north of Murdochville in
the Gaspé region of Quebec. The property is close to both a major road
and a year-round deep water port on the St. Lawrence River. Exploration
campaigns indicate that a large part of the property is covered in
homogeneous aluminous clay and shale.
A Pilot Production Facility is Being Commissioned
Having obtained approval of the environmental assessment submitted for
the pilot project by the Canada Economic Development Agency for Quebec
Regions, Orbite purchased an existing modern building in the village of
Cap-Chat in the Gaspé region to house its pilot plant.
The $7.4 million plant was financed through $1.7 million in private
investment, $1 million from Aluminerie Alouette Inc., and Quebec and
Canadian federal government programs.
Orbite has already shipped 400 tons of ore from its Grande Vallée mine
to the Cap-Chat site and processed it to supply the pilot production
The pilot production facility will be operated to prove large-scale
feasibility, optimize process parameters and production costs, and
determine the design of a projected full-scale production plant. The
pilot production facility will also serve to evaluate the economic
parameters and minimize technological risks.
And Then―A Full-Scale Alumina Plant
The next steps are the successful operation of the pilot production
facility and the completion of feasibility studies required under
Regulation 43-101, leading to the design of a plant capable of
producing over 500 tons of metallurgical alumina per day together with
the mining operations required to meet Orbite's needs. When the pilot
production facility has completed its mission, it will be adapted to
produce ultra-pure alumina.
SOURCE EXPLORATION ORBITE V.S.P.A. INC.
For further information:
|Frédéric Bérard, Attorney |
Legal and Financial Affairs
HKDP communications and public affairs
Telephone: 514-395-0375, ext. 259
| ||Jason Monaco|
First Canadian Capital Corp.