Out with Bayer, in with Orbite?
An intriguing article has appeared in the Montreal Globe and Mail. It says that a Canadian company is developing a new technology to extract alumina from clay. According to the article, the new technology is cleaner and less costly than the Bayer method that most alumina refineries use, and it doesn’t produce the huge ponds of red mud that are the bane of the process today.
The development work is based on aluminous clay, of which there are extensive deposits in the Gaspe region in Quebec, in French Canada. That region also happens to be home to 10 aluminium smelters.
The company developing the technology is called Exploration Orbite (you have to say it with a French accent), and they say they spent 3 years developing the technology, and another two years testing it. From the way the article reads, the technology is still a long way away from being commercially viable.
In fact, I was left wondering if perhaps the whole purpose of the article was to boost the company’s share price or to attract additional capital.