MONTREAL — Orbite Aluminae Inc. has produced its first tonne of high-purity alumina (HPA) as part of the initial commissioning and testing of its commercial-scale production plant in Cap-Chat, Que.
HPA samples were tested by EAG, an independent laboratory in Liverpool, NY, confirming that purity of greater than 4N (4N+) was achieved during this initial production period.
The Montreal-based cleantech company said further commissioning activities – and raising the purity level to 5N and greater – will take up to two months to complete.
Orbite’s technologies are used to extract smelter-grade alumina (SGA), HPA and high-value elements, including rare earths and rare metals, from sources such as aluminous clay and bauxite, without producing waste such as the caustic red mud residue generated from the industry standard Bayer process.
“We are also very pleased to have commissioned the acid regeneration circuit, achieving acid recovery rates during HPA calcination of over 99.99%, as independently measured by CMI-UVK [an international industrial technology company], which is superior to the 99.75% that was expected and is equivalent to 25x less acid loss than anticipated,” said Denis Primeau, chief engineer of Orbite Aluminae.
The company said operational results achieved at the Cap-Chat plant are in line with or exceed initial expectations. Non-commercial production of less than one tonne per day will continue throughout the commissioning phase and customers in Europe, the US and Asia will be shipped product as the material becomes available throughout the first quarter of the year.
With the installation of additional calcination equipment, Orbite said production is to gradually increase to three tonnes per day by mid-year and to five tonnes per day by the end of the year.
Commercial production is to begin by the second quarter when the company plans to offer HPA powder and HPA granules ranging from 4N to 6N (99.9999%) purity.
Orbite also anticipates the production of gallium and scandium once a recovery circuit is completed in mid-2013.