MONTREAL, QUÉBEC--(Marketwired - March 15, 2016) - Orbite Technologies Inc. (ORT.TO)(EORBF) ("Orbite" or the "Company") today provides an update on the Company's progress and the cost estimate towards plant completion and commissioning.
As reported by the Company on March 7th, 2016, the installation of the air, steam, and process piping and utilities around the calcination system, delayed by the installation of the withheld equipment, is now complete.
However, due to the complexity of the piping involved and the tight quarters for installation, piping installation advanced at one third of the budgeted and standard installation rate.
A comprehensive review of costs recently incurred to install those systems and those required to complete specialty piping installation, notably in the decomposer and crystallization sectors, indicate that capital costs initially projected must be increased by approximately 9.9M$, to incorporate the impact of the slower installation pace. This brings the revised total external capital cost budget of the project to 56.2M$ from 46.3M$, as previously contemplated.
Key areas of cost variance between the updated and previous estimate are notably due to additional labor for piping installation and additional engineering and project management fees related thereto.
Consequently, and in order to limit construction costs and manage its working capital, the Company has ended overtime work and may postpone certain activities, which will push back the start of commercial production into Q2 of 2016 instead of Q1 as previously contemplated.
The Company's current financial resources are insufficient to cover such additional construction costs, and the Company is currently exploring financing alternatives, such as leveraging its estimated $5.6M of 2016 Investment Tax Credits as security for a non-dilutive bridge loan, as it has done in the past.
"We are disappointed by this setback but remain highly committed and focused at reaching commercial production at our HPA production facility," stated Glenn Kelly, Orbite's CEO.
The testing and start-up sequence of the decomposer and calciner ovens is proceeding as follows:
Cold fluidization testing (air only) using SGA in the decomposer is complete. The start-up of the decomposer acid regeneration system with water circulation has also been completed. Both systems responded in line with expectations and design parameters.
The Company is now proceeding with the cold fluidization tests (air only) using SGA in the calciner and will also test the transfer of product between both ovens using the discharge devices and the seal pot assembly system. The start-up of the calciner acid regeneration system with water circulation to capture any solids carry-over and to mimic normal operating conditions is also proceeding.
Both ovens will then be emptied of SGA to proceed to hot start-up.
Orbite Technologies Inc. is a Canadian cleantech company whose innovative and proprietary processes are expected to produce alumina and other high-value products, such as rare earth and rare metal oxides, at one of the lowest costs in the industry, and in a sustainable fashion, using feedstocks that include aluminous clay, kaolin, nepheline, bauxite, red mud, fly ash as well as serpentine residues from chrysotile processing sites. Orbite is currently in the process of finalizing its first commercial high-purity alumina (HPA) production plant in Cap-Chat, Québec and has completed the basic engineering for a proposed smelter-grade alumina (SGA) production plant, which would use clay mined from its Grande-Vallée deposit. The Company's portfolio contains 16 intellectual property families, including 29 patents and 101 pending patent applications in 11 different countries and regions. The first intellectual property family is patented in Canada, USA, Australia, China, Japan and Russia. The Company also operates a state of the art technology development center in Laval, Québec, where its technologies are developed and validated.
Certain information contained in this document may include "forward-looking information". Without limiting the foregoing, the information and any forward-looking information may include statements regarding projects, costs, objectives and future returns of the Company or hypotheses underlying these items. In this document, words such as "may", "would", "could", "will", "likely", "believe", "expect", "anticipate", "intend", "plan", "estimate" and similar words and the negative form thereof are used to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of whether, or the times at or by which, such future performance will be achieved. Forward-looking statements and information are based on information available at the time and/or the Company management's good-faith beliefs with respect to future events and are subject to known or unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other unpredictable factors, many of which are beyond the Company's control. These risks uncertainties and assumptions include, but are not limited to, those described in the section of the Management's Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) entitled "Risk and Uncertainties" as filed on March 31, 2015 on SEDAR, including those under the headings "We will need to raise capital to continue our growth" and "Development Goals and Time Frames".
The Company does not intend, nor does it undertake, any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information or statements contained in this document to reflect subsequent information, events or circumstances or otherwise, except as required by applicable laws.