Sean Mason | December 7, 2015 | SmallCapPower
When the Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) held a public investor day in Toronto recently, 20 top public technology innovators were chosen to participate. Of those companies presenting, investor interest was perhaps highest for Orbite Technologies Inc. (TSX: ORT). After all, the Company’s stock price has powered 96% higher since September 1, 2015, to its recent price of $0.45.
Orbite can be described as an investor play on both natural resources as well as clean technology. The Company’s proprietary processes are expected to extract valuable metals and minerals, such as alumina and rare earths, from feedstocks that would otherwise be discarded as waste, including aluminous clay, kaolin, nepheline, bauxite, red mud, fly ash (waste from coal-fired power stations) as well as serpentine residues from chrysotile processing sites.
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Stripping the process down to its basics, Orbite takes these feedstocks and selectively leaches it with acid and then the conditions are manipulated in such a way that selectively extracts all the valuable components.
“We have a very interesting technology that can do what no one else can do. We take a variety of feedstocks, including industrial waste, and we can extract all value from that,” Marc Lakmaaker, head of Investor Relations at Orbite, told SmallCapPower.
“I think much of the investor interest right now is due to the fact that the Company is very near to commercialization. By the end of this year we will have spent $120 million on building a plant, and we’re very near to the completion of that plant. And, by the end of the year we’re looking to begin commercial production,” he added.
This plant, located in Cap-Chat Québec, is a 1,000 tonnes per annum commercial facility for the production of High Purity Alumina (HPA), which is a high-end specialty product selling for up to $30,000 per tonne. The plant will subsequently be upgraded to 1,700 tonnes per annum, and the alumina extraction unit will be converted to the chloride technology, with the addition of a gallium and scandium separation train. The facility will then serve as an industrial-scale technology demonstration unit for waste monetization and commodities production, while continuing to produce HPA commercially. To that end, Orbite has a binding 10-year offtake agreement with Glencore for 100% of the alumina produced.
Investors were encouraged by its recently-announced non-dilutive debt financing of up to C$22 million from U.S.-based MidCap Financial, which Orbite says represents the remaining funds required for completion and full commissioning of the HPA facility, as well as covering its working capital requirements beyond the start of commercial production.
Should its commercialization efforts prove successful, it could forever improve the economics of potential mining projects, in addition to reducing environmental liabilities. Orbite’s Board of Directors also boasts a heavy-hitter in its Chairman Claude Lamoureux, who was the former President & CEO of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for 17 years.