JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – TSX-listed Orbite Aluminae on Thursday said it had started construction of its high-purity alumina (HPA) production plant in Cap-Chat, Quebec, which would see it converting the pilot plant to a state-of-the-art full-scale facility.
In February 2011, Orbite’s pilot alumina-extraction pilot plant in Cap-Chat produced its first ton of high-purity alumina in one day, using its own proprietary technology. Aluminerie Alouette, the largest aluminium smelter in the Americas, as well as the Canadian government and private investors, support the plant.
The plant is being constructed at a cost of between $26-million and $30-million, net of refundable tax credits, and is expected to achieve a production capacity of about three tons of high-purity alumina a day within the first year of operations, without requiring further significant capital expenditure.
“For this vital construction project, we wanted to partner with the best professionals in the business, not only to ensure our deadlines would be respected, but also to adhere to the highest chemical industry and safety standards for the construction of an industrial facility such as ours.
“Our business partners have all demonstrated their ability to deliver high-quality projects within the established budgets and timeframes,” Orbite CEO Richard Boudreault said in a statement.
Chief engineer Denis Primeau said construction of the Orbite high-purity alumina plant would be carried out in four phases. The foundation and infrastructure would be completed by the end of July; the structure and exterior would be finished in September; the mechanical systems and electrical installations would follow, and commissioning of the plant was slated for December.
Orbite owns 100% of the mining rights on its 6 441 ha Grande-Vallée property, the site of an aluminous clay deposit located 32 km north-east of Murdochville, Québec. A National Instrument 43-101-compliant technical report indicates that the clay deposit contains a conservative estimate of about 2 t/m2 of alumina and 800-million to 1-billion tons of indicated mineral resources at 100 m depth in the property’s Marin sector.
The property is strategically located near several deep-water ports and across the St Lawrence river from the province’s significant aluminium smelters, paving the way to replace a significant portion of the higher-cost alumina Québec smelters' import yearly, and also to increase potential exports. Québec is the world’s third-largest producer of aluminium.