MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - July 20, 2011) - (TSX VENTURE:ORT.A) - According to a report prepared by SECOR, an international independent business, policies and economics consultancy firm, regarding the economic impact of the initial industrial phase of the Orbite project, the latter should induce the creation of close to 550 permanent jobs in the Gaspé region. To these will be added 859 jobs for the construction and outfitting of the facilities as well as approximately 40 induced jobs in related businesses. For the most part, these jobs will be supported by the production of alumina in Québec.
Richard Boudreault, President and Chief Executive Officer of Orbite, and Daniel Denis, a partner at SECOR, today presented the results of the report in Gaspé and Sainte-Anne-des-Monts in the Gaspé Peninsula area.
New high-quality, well-paying jobs in the Gaspé region
According to the SECOR study, the jobs created could offer a compensation some 70% higher than the regional average. Moreover, the additional jobs should attract new families to the Gaspé region, further increasing the value of real estate in the area.
The study goes on to predict that the initial industrial operations phase, the first plants, would generate some $65.6 M in wealth in the region through the construction of the high purity and metallurgical alumina production facilities, and that the operation of these facilities would in turn generate an additional $102.3 M per year in wealth, equivalent to increasing by 5% the region's GDP.
Overall, the Orbite project is also expected to help improve living conditions in Gaspé communities through the creation of well-paying jobs and greater diversification of an economy currently based solely on public administration, fishing and forestry.
"The production of alumina in Quebec is expected to lead to a significant creation of wealth and the expansion of employment in communities where Orbite operates. It could also enable the improvement of the environmental issues generally associated with this industry and is expected to provide access to cleaner alumina at a competitive price," stated Mr. Boudreault. "We are proud to have the opportunity to contribute to the economic development of the Gaspé region and we intend to focus fully on achieving this objective, which is shared by all stakeholders in the region."
Significant economic spinoffs for Quebec
According to SECOR, in its initial phase and on a Quebec-wide scale, the Orbite project could sustain close to 2,800 jobs during the construction period and more than 650 permanent jobs in the operation of the new production facilities. In addition, the creation of supplemental wealth in the province would increase by an average of $120 M annually.
During his presentation, Mr. Denis also outlined the structural and dynamic impacts a project such as this can have on Quebec. These include, most notably, the strengthening of the province's aluminum network, which the study states would benefit from a cleaner, more competitive and more stable supply of alumina. The elimination of international transport costs currently associated with alumina imports would represent significant savings in the total cost of manufacturing aluminum in Quebec. This type of advantage would improve the competitive positioning of the province's facilities over alumina smelters abroad. In addition, Orbite's patented process could contribute significantly to reducing the ecological footprint of the aluminum industry, primarily through the absence of the red mud toxic residues associated with the Bayer process, which the Orbite process will displace, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
"The Orbite project and its radical technology hold strategic importance for Quebec and could become, in our professional opinion, one of the largest industrial projects ever conducted in the Gaspé area. Without question, it has the potential to generate considerable economic and ecological benefits for the region and indeed the entire province," affirmed Mr. Denis.
The mandate entrusted to SECOR involved assessing the economic impact of the first industrial operations phase of the Orbite aluminous ores project in the Gaspé region. The year 2013 was used as a reference to illustrate the initial phase in the deployment of the facilities planned for the short term, i.e. a new plant for the production of metallurgical alumina and the conversion of the plant in Cap-Chat to produce high purity alumina. Orbite is also planning other expansion phases during the upcoming decade, and thus the 2013 activities constitute the first phase in the company's growth process.
High growth markets for alumina and aluminum
The global market for smelter grade alumina (SGA) is significant and growing, driven by heavy demand from rapidly developing countries, as well as by increased demand for aluminum's superior environmental and technological benefits. Quebec produces some 12% of the world's supply of aluminum, and its aluminum industry accounts for nearly 7% of the provincial GDP. Estimating that approximately five million tonnes of alumina are imported yearly into Quebec, the import market for alumina is therefore greater than $2 billion. The size of the global high-purity alumina market is also significantly growing.
Orbite (pronounced Orbit) 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 about 1 billion tonnes of aluminous clay in part of the deposit, thus representing a half-century of the total current Canadian alumina imports. The Company also owns the intellectual property rights to a unique Canada and U.S.-patented process for extracting alumina from aluminous ores and for which other international patents are also pending. www.orbitealuminae.com
Orbite continually focuses on thinking outside the Bauxite
SECOR has built a name for itself as an emerging international strategic management consulting firm, with major offices in Montreal, New York, Paris, Quebec City, Toronto and Vancouver. For over 30 years SECOR has been helping businesses to succeed. SECOR's clients include leading national and global companies as well as medium-size organizations, governments, departments and agencies.
Regulation 43-101 and forward-looking statements
This study of economic spin-offs and the analyses contained therein do not constitute a "preliminary feasibility study", a "pre-feasibility study", a "feasibility study" or a "preliminary economic assessment" within the meaning of Regulation 43-101 respecting standards of disclosure for mineral projects (Québec) ("Regulation 43-101"). All references contained in this report regarding the production of high purity alumina (HPA) or smelter grade alumina (SGA) (including projected daily production levels), the production of other resources including rare earths, the creation of employment and economic spin-offs, have been made by assuming that the technical, financial and economic feasibility of such operations will be demonstrated. No preliminary feasibility study, pre-feasibility study or feasibility study pursuant to the requirements of Regulation 43-101 has been completed to date.
Certain information contained in this document may include "forward-looking information", particularly as regards the daily production of plants described in this report, the anticipated cost of conversion of the pilot plant at Cap-Chat into a high purity alumina producing plant and the construction of a plant producing SGA and the data relative to the creation of direct employment in the aforementioned plants. Without limiting the foregoing, the information and any forward-looking information may include statements regarding projects, costs, objectives and future returns of the Corporation 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 Exploration Orbite's 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 Corporation's control. These risks, uncertainties and assumptions include, but are not limited to; those described in the section of the Annual Information Form entitled "Risk Factors", and could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statements. Exploration Orbite 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. As for projected dates of beginning of operations, namely the year 2013 for the SGA production plant being put into service, this date is an objective and that many steps (feasibility studies, financing, environmental and government authorizations and other usual conditions) remain before confirming any particular schedule. No independent study has confirmed the feasibility of putting the production plants described herein into service according to the projected dates.
To learn more about the Grande-Vallée property and the activities of the Corporation, Exploration Orbite invites readers to consult the Annual Information Form of the Corporation and the Report on the Geological Study prepared in conformity with Regulation 43-101 and filed in March 2011, both of which are available at www.sedar.com or on the Corporation's website at www.orbitealuminae.com.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as such term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.