Orbite Aluminae achieves first commercial oxide samples
The first commercial samples of rare-earth oxides and scandium oxide have been drawn from Orbite Aluminae's shale clay deposits, according to Mining Weekly.
The mining services firm merged efforts with two European partners to achieve the accomplishment in Grande-Vallée, a municipality in the Canadian province of Quebec. Orbite Aluminae capitalized on its patented technology for heavy rare-earth and rare metal extraction and separation.
The firm noted that sizable amounts of the extraction were yttrium oxide, gallium oxide and erbium oxide and they enabled the parties to create parameters that will serve as the final design for its commercial scale plant.
"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," chief engineer Denis Primeau with Orbite told the news source.
The firm had intended to create a smelter-grade alumina production plant. That plant was forecast to be constructed next year and commissioned in 2014 and was to be equipped with the ability to generate 540,000 tons of smelter grade alumina per year.
It also was set to manufacture 1,097 tons per year of rare earths and metals, which includes at least 60 tons of scandium oxide.
President and chief executive officer Richard Boudreault said in a press release
that the company is very pleased about the development that marks a first for high commercial value rare earths.