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Orbite to pursue gold recovery from fly ash

If it’s extractable, gold and other noble metals will further increase the value of industrial wastes


MONTREAL — Orbite Technologies Inc. has conducted preliminary research indicating that gold recovery from fly ash using its waste technology is potentially feasible and has filed a provisional patent application.

The cleantech company based in Saint-Laurent, Que. has developed a process that extracts constituents such as scandium, gallium, rare earths, rare metals, alumina, magnesium oxide and titanium dioxide from wastes such as fly ash, red mud and mine tailings.

Its analysis of several feedstocks identified gold concentrations that, if extractable, could increase the potential value of fly ash.

“We intend further investigating and developing this aspect of our technology, and include gold recovery in the workflow for the conversion to the chloride process of the extraction section at our Cap-Chat facility,” said Glenn Kelly, Orbite’s CEO.

Preliminary engineering for the conversion of the high purity alumina (HPA) plant’s alumina extraction unit to a demonstration facility is to be completed in the first half of the year. Conversion work is to commence in the second half, with the extraction section operational in 2017.

“We currently estimate average value for typical fly ash at around US$200 to $250 per tonne,” said Kelly. “Even at observed average concentrations of 7.5 ppm of gold in fly ash, a 50% recovery would increase this value to US$350 to $400 per tonne, while 100% recovery would increase this to around US$500 to $550 per tonne.”

Orbite anticipates other metals such as platinum, iridium and palladium could make a further positive contribution to the fly ash value if they prove to be extractable.

When the nearly completed $117 million Cap-Chat, Que. facility is converted to Orbite’s chloride process, it will provide the platform for global commercialization of the company’s waste monetization technology.

Orbite’s portfolio contains 15 intellectual property families, including 22 patents and 102 pending patent applications in 11 different countries and regions.

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