Orbite Technologies Inc. ("Orbite", or the "Company") today announced that, further to its press release of December 14, 2016, production activities continue to progress positively at its high purity alumina ("HPA") plant, with the first 4N5+ HPA produced entirely from the newly designed and constructed plant.
- Both acid digestion of feedstock and crystallization of the digestion liquors into aluminum chloride hexahydrate crystals continue to operate smoothly and automatically.
- Purity results of some of the aluminum chloride hexahydrate ("ACH") crystal batches produced to date indicate that the Company may be able to increase plant crystallization capacity with the equipment in place, thereby potentially reducing capital expenditure requirements for future capacity upgrades.
- In preparation for the calcination of the produced ACH into HPA, the Company successfully produced approximately 3 tonnes of amorphous HPA to constitute the initial 'bed' in the fluidized bed decomposer and calciner. This amorphous HPA, produced using the Company's legacy low-capacity Harper decomposer, was successfully injected into the Outotec decomposer.
- ACH crystals, produced and centrifuged in the crystallization circuit, were then successfully transported pneumatically for injection into the calcination system, operating at approximately 750°C, normal operating conditions.
- ACH injection into the decomposer reached rates up to and commensurate with the production of 2 tonnes of HPA per day.
- HPA of 4N5+ purity was produced, which management considers to be very positive and which was ahead of internal expectations. Management anticipates that with subsequent batches, purity levels will trend towards 5N+, similar to the process the Company went through with the production of the ACH crystals.
- However, as some mechanical issues were noted with some heating elements of the calcination system, the Company has decided to proceed with a system cool down, for inspection, prior to ramp up to continuous operation.
"Having produced HPA entirely with the new plant, including the Outotec calcination system, is a very important milestone," stated Glenn Kelly. "While it has taken us a little longer than anticipated to get to this point, this was simply due to the learning curve combined with some relatively minor mechanical issues as we move towards our goal of producing 5N+ HPA. This is nothing unusual as our technology and equipment systems are new and complex. The key takeaway is that our process is solid and functions as anticipated. We are now going through a cooling down/inspection/reheating cycle at our ovens and oven heat up is expected in the week of January 23. Once done with our inspection, we anticipate ramping up methodically to 5N+ purity levels and 1 tpd production capacity. We look to achieve our 3 tpd nameplate capacity over the next months, as planned."