Game changing technology; extracting all value from a wide variety of feedstocks

Since the early days, much work has been done and the Orbite Process has evolved significantly. In its current form, the Orbite Process can be broken down into the following steps:

01

Feedstock
preparation

02

Leaching
(digestion)

03

Selective, steps-wise extraction of alumina, and other valuable products

04

In the case of alumina and certain other customized specialty products: calcination

05

In parallel, acid is recovered from the mother liquor and during calcination

 

In the first step, the feedstock is ground into small particles to maximize the surface area for acid leaching. In the next step, particles are acid-leached at high temperature using hydrochloric acid. All the metals (except titanium, but including rare earth elements) dissolve as chlorides. Specifically, alumina and iron dissolve to form aluminum chloride (AlCl3) and ferric chloride (FeCl3). Silica and titanium remain insoluble and are removed by filtering.

The leachate is processed by first precipitating the aluminum chloride and removing it as aluminum chloride hexahydrate (ACH), the precursor of alumina. The ACH then goes through calcination and is transformed into alumina. The ferric chloride, which is still in the leachate, is hydrolyzed, using a low-temperature process, producing a pure ferric oxide precipitate while regenerating hydrochloric acid. The ferric oxide (hematite) is very pure and can be sold commercially as a specialty by-product.

Selective extraction of all value

Further processing allows the selective recovery of the remaining metals in the leachate, such as magnesium, gallium, scandium, and rare earths, recovering all the value from the feedstock.

Efficiency

Orbite’s process has achieved high recovery rates for alumina, Rare Earth Elements (REEs) and Rare Metals (RMs). This sets Orbite apart from traditional processes that achieve efficiencies significantly below these levels. Inefficiencies in the Bayer process, the traditional method of producing alumina, result in a substantial alumina concentration (up to 25%) in the red mud waste stream.

Intellectual Property

The Corporation's intellectual property portfolio contains:

16

intellectual property families

45

patents

71

pending patent applications

 

History

The development of the Company’s technology goes back to 2004 and was originally focused on the extraction of alumina from aluminous clay. At that time, we conducted extraction trials using acid-dissolution methods followed by a process of pyrohydrolysis at high temperature. We achieved alumina extraction rates of up to 100 percent. In 2006 and 2007, we did additional research in collaboration with the Centre d’études des procédés chimiques du Québec (CÉPROCQ). This research led to the production of high-purity alumina (HPA) in the lab, and the Company filed for its first patent in 2007. To further its progress towards commercialization, Orbite built a pilot plant, where the Company’s process for the production of HPA was proven in an industrial setting.