Orbite Technologies Inc.

Construction of a pilot plant to produce metallurgical grade alumina from aluminous clay deposits

The project and its challenges

Orbite Technologies Inc. had successfully produced, in the laboratory, metallurgical grade alumina from aluminous clay deposits. Seneca worked with the company to advance from laboratory testing to deployment of a pilot plant producing commercial samples.

The project had very limited financial resources and had to be implemented in a remote area. The goal of the pilot plant was to produce one ton of metallurgical grade alumina from hydrochloric acid leaching of aluminous clay, an atypical process.

Despite all these constraints, the Seneca team successfully managed the project. They were able to quickly set up a pilot plant and produce one ton of metallurgical grade alumina on time.

Services included:

  • EPCM project management
  • Steering committee
  • Preparation of the project charter
  • Development of preliminary design studies, estimates and preliminary studies
  • Technical assistance during start-up
  • Risk studies (HAZOP)Contractor health and safety program.

Orbite Technologies Inc.


$1,5 million


2009 – 2010

The proposed solution

EPCM project management

Orbite Technologies Inc. required Seneca’s assistance from the get-go because of the sheer size of the project. The EPCM project management, which included a steering committee, helped to finish the project on time and on budget.

Note that we conducted negotiations with central labour bodies to produce construction materials on time.

Reusing existing buildings

The Seneca team was able to identify advantages the building and its infrastructures would bring to the project. Our creativity and technical understanding helped minimize work on the building and lower capital costs.

Retrofitting used equipment

To respect the tight budget, our team recommended used equipment (such as high-pressure leaching tanks, pumps, tanks, grinders) that met the client’s technical needs, and had them refurbished in local workshops according to the required process.

The results

  • Delivery on time and on budget
  • Start-up and demonstration in record time (about ten months)
  • No accidents on site nor when the plant was in operation despite the existing risk factors (such as high temperatures, high pressure, caustic soda).

Seneca’s project management structure and technical skills helped us deploy our plant on a tiny budget. They did an incredible job.

Denis Arguin

Vice President, Engineering and Operations, Orbite Technologies Inc.

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