Orbite Aluminae Inc.
TSX : ORT

Orbite Aluminae Inc.

June 26, 2012 07:30 ET

Orbite Successfully Produces the First Separated Heavy Rare Earth Oxides From a North American Shale Clay Deposit

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - June 26, 2012) -

Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.

Orbite Aluminae Inc. (TSX:ORT) ("Orbite" or the "Company") announces that, in collaboration with two European partners, it has used its patented rare earth and rare metal extraction and separation process to establish process parameters and a final design for the heavy rare earth and rare metal separation technology that has allowed it to successfully extract the first commercial samples of heavy rare earth oxides and scandium from its shale clay deposit in Grande-Vallée.

Since this process is suitable for extracting heavy rare earths from a variety of raw materials, Orbite has therefore become, to its knowledge, the only company on the continent with an operational extraction technology for heavy rare earth oxides (such as dysprosium and erbium) and rare metal oxides (such as gallium, scandium and yttrium) from shale clay. In fact, Jack Lifton, an expert in rare earths and metals who recently gave a recent interview to Critical Metals Report, was quoted as saying that no other company will be ready to extract rare metals for a number of years to come, which is no small feat considering the major work that Orbite has recently undertaken.

HEAVY RARE EARTHS

Rare earth elements (REE) are 17 chemical elements (metallic) in the periodic table. REE deposits contain the 17 elements, but their distribution and proportions vary. They are considered scarce because of the difficulty in finding them in high enough concentrations to be profitably mined. REEs with a low atomic number are generally known as light rare earths, while those with a high atomic number are categorized as heavy rare earths.

In almost all deposits, the concentration of heavy rare earths in their ores is very low compared to light rare earths. Heavy rare earth elements are used in the manufacturing of many products, including permanent magnets, rechargeable batteries, phosphors, and polishing compounds. Neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium, yttrium, and terbium are the REEs most commonly used in these applications.

At this stage, no feasibility or pre-feasibility study within the meaning of National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects has been completed in connection with the proposed SGA Plant. Rare earths and rare metals will be by-products of alumina production and mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

Scandium can be used as an alloying element in aluminum at concentrations of between 0.1% and 0.5%, considerably increasing strength and thermal resistance and opening the door to applications that until now have been limited, due to its scarcity and resulting high price. The planned Orbite smelter grade alumina production plant, which will be built in 2013 and is scheduled for start-up in 2014 will potentially produce 540 000 tons of smelter grade alumina per year and 1 097 tons of rare earths and metals (at an estimated recovery rate of 85%), including more than 60 tonnes of scandium oxide per year. The scandium eventually produced by the company should enable industrial uses of this material for which more than 100 applications have been patented over the past 50 years. Notable among these is scandium aluminum alloy for use in military and aeronautic applications as well as in solid oxide fuel cells, where the use of scandium oxide in conjunction with zirconium oxide enables a low-temperature electrolyte to be produced, markedly improving the efficiency of these fuel cells. In addition to scandium, Orbite also plans to produce more than 100 tonnes of gallium per year. The gallium market is rapidly growing, driven by the gallium arsenide used in semiconductors, which are in increasing demand in high-performance photovoltaic applications.

ORBITE SAMPLES

The final design parameters, operating expenditures, capital expenditures and equivalent samples expected for the industrial phase are based on concentration factors and conditions that the Company should achieve with its extraction process for smelter-grade alumina. Located on the L'Orignal Formation, the Company's deposit resembles the large deposits in China on many levels. Having recently acquired 952 new claims covering a total of 543.2 km2 on a territory extending over 170 km ranging from Quebec City east to Cap-Chat, Quebec (see press release dated April 24, 2012), the Company may have the potential, if geological testing on the new claims and the untested actual claims confirm the presence of rare earths and their content, to mine the one of world's most valuable rare earth deposit, with a heavy rare earth content of more than 22% (to total rare earths volume) and containing scandium, whose oxide is extracted and separated as shown in the accompanying photo. In addition to scandium oxide, yttrium oxide and erbium oxide were also extracted in sufficient quantities to establish the final design parameters of Orbite's commercial-scale plant (see photo for the 200-g samples of each one). Gallium oxide is also one of the elements successfully extracted at high recovery rates and under the established design parameters, while the final work is currently being carried out for other heavy earths. Some of these, such as dysprosium and neodynium, are currently being completed, and the commercial design basis and expected yields are being established.

INDEPENDENT EVALUATION

The independent evaluation of the Orbite technology for the individual extraction of rare metals and rare earths has been validated by two world-renowned third parties that have pooled their expertise: European group CMI-UVK and German firm MEAB. The evaluation has validated the extraction rate for certain rare earth and rare metal oxides at over 93% (see press release dated June 21, 2012). The future therefore looks very promising for Orbite's green technology. It also looks promising for users of heavy rare earths and rare metals seeking to reduce their dependence on the existing limited sources of these oxides and for those wishing to develop recognized commercial applications for scandium, as the Company expects to be the first with the capacity to produce separated heavy rare earth oxides and scandium oxide in North America-and likely the world-from aluminous shale clay as early as 2014.

"Thanks to its closed-loop hydrochloric acid regeneration process, Orbite can successfully use any source of these raw materials, even with a low concentration of rare earths, concentrate them into chlorides, and convert them into hydroxides and then into oxides," stated Denis Primeau, Eng., MBA, and the Company's Chief Engineer.

"We are very proud of this new technological development, which is essentially a first for heavy rare earths of high commercial value," affirmed Richard Boudreault, President and Chief Executive Officer of Orbite. "This deposit of rare earths holds a significant commercial value potential, and we expect to be the first in North America to offer a heavy rare earth extraction and separation technique as a derivative product of alumina production. We have successfully produced commercial samples from demonstrated and measured concentrations of our leachate, notably for yttrium, erbium, scandium and gallium, which should help to greatly reduce the economic risks associated with the Chinese concentration of separation techniques."

TRAINING OF TECHNICIANS IN THE GASPÉ REGION

To meet the need for qualified technicians in chemical product management, as outlined in the press release dated May 24, 2012. Orbite has signed a collaborative agreement with Groupe Collegia, the professional development consortium of Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Ïles and Cégep de Matane. The agreement will see the design, implementation and teaching of a specialized chemical process training program in Eastern Quebec. The objective is to offer this training program by the fall of 2012, in collaboration with the local community.

The technical content of this press release has been reviewed and approved by Denis Primeau, Eng., MBA, Orbite's Chief Engineer, Qualified Person under the terms of Regulation 43-101 Respecting Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (Quebec).

About Orbite

Orbite currently owns 100% of the mining rights over a total of 60,984 hectares including the Grande-Vallee property measuring 6,665 hectares, the site of an aluminous clay deposit located 23 km south of Grande-Vallee, and a 2,600 m2 facility in the process of being converted into a high-purity alumina plant in Cap Chat, in the Gaspe region. An NI 43-101 report identified over 1 billion tonnes of aluminous clay in part of the deposit. The Company also owns ten different families of intellectual property rights (and patent pending), protected by Canadian and U.S. patents, for extracting alumina and for which patents are also pending in other countries.

www.orbitealuminae.com.

About CMI Industry

A specialist in industrial processes, CMI Industry designs, supplies and modernizes mechanical, heat and chemical treatment equipment and industrial efficiency solutions. In particular, CMI Industry supplies steel-makers, with unparalleled references in rolling mills, coating lines, furnaces, chemical treatment installations and special equipment. With a wealth of international experience as an assembler, CMI Industry also supplies other production plants. Thanks to its mastery of advanced technology and understanding of industrial processes, CMI designs solutions for reducing the environmental footprint of all types of industrial installations. These innovative solutions are always adapted to the specific needs of each and every customer.

CMI Chemline, CMI Industry'pole dedicated to chemical processes, is specialized in the design and supply of chemical treatment equipment for steel strips and long products. With its Business Units in Brazil, China, France, Germany. CMI Chemline counts many references running throughout the whole world. In parallel CMI Chemline is the leading supplier of Acid Regeneration Plants for e.g. Hydrochloric Acid. CMI Chemline built the largest Spray Roaster in Europe and specialized Plants all over the world. Customers like Arcelor Mittal, DOFASCO, IMSA, Rio Tinto count on CMI Chemline's Engineers and their expertise.

About MEAB

MEAB Metallextraktion AB, a Swedish company founded 1970, is a consulting and trading company, active in the hydrometallurgical field. Its special area of interest is Solvent Extraction. MEAB aim is to support interested customers with chemical and technical information and, on request, provide the necessary process engineering and complete equipment package, including start up services.

Forward-looking statements

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 22, 2012 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.

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20120626-Orta_0626_800.jpg.

Contact Information

  • MEDIA
    Frederic Berard
    Vice-president
    H+K Strategies
    514-395-0375, ext. 259

    ORBITE
    Jacques Bedard
    Orbite Aluminae Inc.
    CFO
    514-744-6264, ext. 111

    INVESTORS
    Louis Morin
    Investor Relations
    Orbite Aluminae Inc.
    514-591-3988

    Jason Monaco
    Managing Partner
    First Canadian Capital Corp.
    416-742-5600

    Nicole Blanchard
    Investors Relations
    Sun International Communications
    450-973-6600

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