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Orbite Shuts down Operations in HPA Plant due to problems with calcination equipment

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | June 22, 2019
Orbite Technologies
Canadian businesses   The start-up bed of amorphous HPA was injected into the decomposer

Orbite Technologies announced the shutdown of operations at the HPA Plant due to technical problems with the Outotec calcination equipment.

As previously disclosed, the start-up bed of amorphous HPA was injected into the decomposer and it was filled to its operational level. The upstream hydrometallurgical section was also in full operation and ACH crystal transfer into the decomposer had commenced.

Purity of the ACH material produced in the hydrometallurgical section is excellent and is superior to 5N purity (5N+ HPA equivalent).

Orbite successfully operated the decomposer over several weeks and reached ACH crystal injection rates of 5 tpd (equivalent to1 tpd of HPA) and maintained a steady injection rate between 3 and 4 tpd for 4 days.

The transfer of gamma HPA from the decomposer into the calciner was successfully done at rates up to 2.5 tpd of HPA.

The calciner was almost filled to operating levels and Orbite was starting to discharge HPA from the calciner when operations observed abnormal variations with the material fluidisation in the calciner bed, leading to the breakage of four ceramic heating tubes in the calciner and one ceramic heating tube in the decomposer.

After careful analysis of the available data with Outotec’s onsite representative, Orbite has determined that despite the numerous modifications made to the calcination system over the past several months, the electrical heating system, as designed and supplied by Outotec, is not robust enough to reliably achieve the production of HPA without experiencing breakages and production slow downs.

After discussions with its legal advisors and the court appointed Monitor, the Company has determined there is not enough time or financial resources to try to once again address the technical issues encountered with the Outotec supplied equipment whilst remaining under CCAA protection.

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