Engineering & Mining Journal

JUN 2013

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ORBITE According to CRU reports, the alumina industry's average production cash cost could reach $275/mt in 2013 and $320/mt by 2022. Orbite expects its production costs to be $208/mt of alumina. Factoring in the possible sale of byproducts, the costs could be reduced to a negative cost for alumina. Boudreault estimates that the alumina generated by the Orbite process could pay for the investment in as little as one to two years at current prices. "There will certainly be a positive return on investment for this process," Boudreault said. "That doesn't mean we do not expect the red mud producers to pay the tipping fees. They pay some $5/ton to $50/ton to store this material. That's a high cost." The Orbite process could save bauxite miners substantial amounts of money directly and indirectly by reducing the cost for environmental insurance. The current plan, Boudreault explained, is to start with Europe where the bauxite processors pay a great amount of money per square foot for land. "We will also work with the Chinese," Boudreault said. "The Chinese actually have the first environmental laws on the books that say they will recover 20% of all of the red mud by 2015. We will work with these regions from the onset. We are hoping to install our first plant within a year or so." Orbite Aluminae has been issued patents in China and Russia that protect the processes, which are currently being demonstrated at its high-purity alumina (HPA) plant in CapChat, Quebec, as well as processes that will be used in its first smelter-grade alumina (SGA) plant, which is currently at the www.e-mj.com Jerome Le Conte, senior executive vice president, Environmental Services Division, Veolia (left), and Richard Boudreault, president and CEO, Orbite Aluminae. feasibility study stage. China and Russia are the largest aluminum producing regions in the world. How it Works Orbite's proprietary process uses semi-continuous leaching in HCI to produce alumina. It has achieved high recovery rates for alumina, rare earth elements (REEs), and rare metals, including JUNE 2013 • E&MJ 89

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