MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - April 2, 2013) - Orbite Aluminae Inc. (TSX:ORT)(OTCQX:EORBF) ("Orbite" or the "Company") confirms that the Company is not aware of any material information that would justify the recent share price movement. The Company has issued this press release following unusual trading that occurred after the market open this morning and as a result of IIROC's halt.
The Company would like to take this opportunity to summarize pertinent information that was included in its consolidated annual financial statements, management discussion & analysis (MD&A), and annual information form (AIF) for the year-ended December 31, 2012, all of which were filed on March 28, 2013.
The highlights of the year-end financials as of December 31, 2012, or for the year-ended are:
- Cash and Cash Equivalents of $40.2 million
- Total Current Assets of $48.5 million
- Accounts Payable and Accrued Liabilities of $28.6 million
- Comprehensive loss of $16.9 million or $0.09 per weighted average shares outstanding
- Cash flows used for operating activities of $11.9 million
- Cash flows from financing activities of $30.4 million
- Cash flows used for additions to PP&E of $40.1 million
- Cash flows used for additions to exploration and evaluation assets of $11.2 million
Outlook for Cap-Chat HPA Plant
Orbite owns and operates a facility in Cap-Chat, Québec, that was originally operated as a pilot plant up to and until March 2012. The 2,600 m2 pilot plant has since been converted into a full-scale 5,903 m2 high-purity production plant, designed to produce alumina at a purity level of 99.99% ("4N") and greater, which began commissioning on December 18, 2012. On January 22, 2013, Orbite announced that it had produced and independently verified the production of one tonne of HPA.
Although the commissioning and optimization activities are expected to continue further into 2013 than the Company previously anticipated, the plant is expected to achieve commercial production of 3 tpd in Q4 2013, thus completing Orbite's conversion from a pre-revenue development company into an alumina producer.
The corporation is now focused on process optimization, which consists of gradually increasing production while preserving and increasing purity. Customer HPA samples of 4N or greater are being shipped to prospective customers, and such shipments are expected to continue as material of the appropriate purity and characteristics become available to satisfy the customer purchase orders. The HPA plant is expected to produce progressively purer samples to 4N5 and 5N throughout the remainder of Phase I. Customers are expected to test their respective HPA samples, a process which can take several months, prior to submitting purchase orders for commercial supply.
As a result of a recent management review of the project timelines, the HPA plant commissioning and optimization activities are now expected to continue into the second half of 2013. The procurement and installation of a new circulating fluid-bed ("CFB") calcinator, to supplement the existing rotary-kiln calcinators, was previously anticipated in Q2 2013 and is now anticipated in the second half of 2013. Given the foregoing, the HPA plant will operate throughout the second quarter of 2013 at a Phase I capacity averaging less than one tonne per day, and following the commissioning of the new CFB calcinator, will increase to the Phase II capacity of three tonnes per day, anticipated in the last quarter of 2013, followed by a gradual increase to the full production capacity of five tonnes per day, expected in early 2014. The declaration of commercial production, for accounting purposes, is anticipated at the beginning of Phase II. Construction of the scandium and gallium separation facility is expected to also coincide with Phase II.
Once in Phase II, the HPA plant will begin operating using the same processes as the proposed SGA plant, and as such, is also expected to act as a demonstration plant for the SGA processes.
In its Management Discussion and Analysis for the period ended September 30, 2012, management provided forecasts of capital costs for construction, equipment and installation ranging between $26 to $30 million net of projected refundable income tax credits ("RITC") (or $43 million to $50 million before RITC) for a production capacity of 3 tonnes of HPA per day ("tpd"). Subsequent to this estimate, management strategically opted to expand the HPA plant's production capacity from 3 tpd to 5 tpd to take advantage of the extra nameplate capacity of the new calcinator. Orbite expects incremental costs of $25 million net of RITC (or $35 million before RITC) to adapt the process and equipment to a 5 tpd capacity. The Corporation's decision to proceed with a capacity increase at this stage of the project was driven by a cost-benefit analysis vs. implementing it once the plant will be operating at a 3 tpd commercial production level. As a result, the total approximate projected capital cost for Orbite's HPA production facility, provisioned at a 5 tpd capacity, is currently forecasted at $55 million net of RITC (or $85 million before RITC), to be fully incurred by the end of 2013, while maintaining an equivalent total capex per tonne ratio and improving operational costs. As at December 31, 2012, $62,730,937 had been incurred and paid by the Corporation, of which approximately $19,932,275 represents RITCs.
Outlook for proposed SGA plant
The Corporation proposes building and operating an SGA production plant (the "SGA Plant") using clay mined from the Corporation's Grande-Vallée deposit. The SGA Plant site selection has not been completed at the time. The SGA Plant design is based on the parameters of the Preliminary Economic Assessment with an expected production of 540,000 tonnes per year of smelter-grade alumina as well as by-products that include high-purity hematite, silica, magnesium oxide, and individually separated rare earth and rare metal oxides. The SGA Plant design is based on Orbite's patented and patent-pending proprietary processes which involve hydrochloric acid leaching and a closed-loop acid recovery and regeneration system.
The basic design of the SGA Plant has been completed, whereas the detailed engineering is expected to be completed following the selection of a joint-venture partner(s) and SGA plant site. The Corporation anticipates the completion of a NI 43-101 compliant feasibility study technical report by the first quarter of 2014, subject to securing sufficient funding. Permitting for the mine site and SGA plant site is expected to move ahead in parallel to the detailed engineering.
The Company is pursuing discussions with prospective joint-venture partners in connection with the SGA Plant project, including UC RUSAL.
Outlook for Veolia Red Mud Demonstration Plant
On February 4, 2013, Orbite and Veolia Environmental Services signed an exclusive worldwide collaborative agreement for the treatment and remediation of red mud from stockpiles or from the effluent of existing alumina refineries. The terms of the partnership include the preparation of a study confirming the viability of a red mud treatment plant using Orbite's proprietary processes, as well as specific milestones for the selection of a plant site, capacity, structure of the ownership and financing, of such a plant, with the intent to initiate construction in 2014. Discussions in respect of site selection, management of a co-enterprise and financial terms associated with the first plant are ongoing.
Outlook for Exploration and Evaluation Activities
Orbite intends to initiate a grassroots exploration program on its newly acquired aluminous clay claims near Rimouski and Cap-Chat in Quebec, to complete exploration activities on its kaolin clay claims under the Chaswood option agreement in Nova Scotia, as well as complete geotechnical drilling at Grande-Vallée in Quebec.
Outlook for Financial Requirements
Orbite is still a development-stage company with multiple projects, each with different capital requirements. In light of the numerous projects that the Company is developing, the Company continuously assesses financing options, including joint-venture partnerships, project debt financing and equity offering.
Notice to the reader
The information provided in this press release is entirely qualified by the disclosures in the Company's consolidated annual financial statements, management discussion & analysis (MD&A), and annual information form (AIF) for the year-ended December 31, 2012, which are available from the Company's website (www.orbitealuminae.com) and on SEDAR (www.sedar.com).
Orbite Aluminae Inc. is a Canadian company whose innovative and proprietary processes can produce alumina and other high-value by-products, such as rare earth and rare metal oxides, at one of the lowest costs in the industry, without generating any wastes, using feedstocks that include aluminous clay, kaolin, nepheline, bauxite, red mud and fly ash. Orbite is currently commissioning and optimizing its first commercial high-purity alumina (HPA) production plant in Cap-Chat, Québec. A Feasibility Study for Orbite's first smelter-grade alumina (SGA) production plant, using clay mined from its Grande Vallée deposit, is anticipated by Q1 2014. Orbite signed an exclusive worldwide collaborative agreement with Veolia Environmental Services for the remediation of red mud using the Orbite processes with the intent to begin construction of a Veolia-operated demonstration plant in 2014. The company owns the intellectual property rights to 9 patents and 32 pending patent applications in 10 different countries. Its intellectual property portfolio now contains 14 intellectual property families.
For more information on the Company or to download our corporate presentation please visit: www.orbitealuminae.com
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 28, 2013 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.