MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - May 25, 2011) - Exploration Orbite (TSX VENTURE:ORT.A) is pleased to announce that it has produced its first samples of aluminum, conclusively demonstrating the viability of its entire value-added chain — from clay to metallurgical aluminum. The samples were manufactured using Cap-Chat Smelter Grade Alumina (SGA), which is designed to meet current industry standards for purity and particle size (granulometry). The quality of the metallurgical alumina (or SGA) was ultimately confirmed by an independent, world-class research facility in Canada through electrolysis smelting into aluminum.

"The production of the latest generation of SGA material is a significant milestone for Orbite," explained Dr. Joel Fournier, VP Technologies. "The Bayer process, widely used by the aluminum industry, can take up to 36 hours during crystal growth in order to reach the appropriate granulomety. By contrast, Orbite's patented process offers significant competitive advantages in terms of both crystal precipitation and the growth period, which is reduced to a fraction of the time required by the Bayer process."

Tests confirm strong market potential

The samples of aluminum were produced under the direction of Professor Lionel Roué, at the National Institute of Scientific Research — Energy, Materials and Communications (INRS-EMC), on behalf of Orbite. Dr Roué is a recognized leader in the electrochemistry of aluminum production. The SGA material, delivered by Orbite to INRS, underwent a series of electrolysis smelting experiments at the Institute. The tests were performed under electrolysis conditions commonly used throughout the industry and aluminum was reliably produced in all trials performed.

The electrical potential and faradaic efficiency obtained are both consistent with and similar to those of metallurgical alumina commonly consumed by aluminum smelters globally, demonstrating a strong compatibility between Orbite's SGA product and the electrolysis technology used in the industry. Building on these positive results, Orbite will continue to work on aluminum production with INRS to achieve optimal production parameters. "The tests confirmed that the alumina produced by Orbite has a similar behaviour into a molten salt reduction cell as the conventional alumina used by most of the aluminum smelters around the world," said Professor Lionel Roué.

A new chapter in Orbite's growth

Orbite's Cap-Chat pilot plant has re-initiated production following minor retooling to allow for production of metallurgical alumina. This SGA material is aimed directly at the aluminum production market. Approximately 82M tonnes of alumina are produced globally each year and this amount is expected to grow to 156M tonnes by the end of the decade, with a current spot price neighbouring $425 per tonne. The alumina produced at the Cap-Chat facility will be marketed to the various aluminum producers with whom Orbite is currently in discussion.

Following SGA sample production, the pilot plant's next major step is to proceed with optimizing production as well as to generate the data required for the SGA feasibility study (as per NI43-101 standards). This study is currently planned for the second half of the fiscal year.

"The production of aluminum from Orbite's smelter grade alumina is a vital step for the company. It demonstrates the company's ability to make a superior quality, high-demand smelter grade alumina product, and to do so more efficiently and without the environmental impacts associated with the Bayer process — the industry's most commonly used process. Not only have we produced metallurgical alumina from Gaspesia clay, but we have done so under the supervision of an independent research centre, demonstrating that aluminum can be produced using the standards, technology and methods of the aluminum industry, " said Richard Boudreault , CEO.

About Orbite

Orbite owns 100% of the exclusive mining rights on its 6,441-hectare Grande-Vallée property, the site of an aluminous clay deposit located 32 km northeast of Murdochville, and a 28,000 sq. ft. "at scale" pilot facility in Cap Chat, both in the Gaspé region. The latest NI 43-101 report issued has identified an Indicated Resource of more than 1 billion tonnes of aluminous clay in part of the deposit, thus representing a half-century of the total current Canadian alumina imported. The Company also owns the intellectual property rights to a unique Canada and U.S.-patented process for extracting alumina from aluminous clays and for which other international patents are also pending. The Company has current cash assets of more than $19 million.

Orbite is Most Definitely Thinking Outside the Bauxite

About INRS

INRS (Institut national de la recherche scientifique) is one of Canada's top universities in terms of research intensity (funding per faculty member). It brings together 150 professors, over 700 graduate and postgraduate students, and a hundred postdoctoral researchers at four centres in Montreal, Québec City, Laval, and Varennes. INRS ranks first in Quebec and second in Canada in terms of grants per professor according to Canada's Top 50 Research Universities. INRS is an incubator of post-graduate social, technological, and scientific innovation.

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