According to Mr Boudreault, the two patents represent 'excellent news' as China and Russia are the largest aluminium producing regions in the world.

"No patent application filed by Orbite has ever been denied," Boudreault said, adding that this latest news will alleviate concerns about the 'patentability' of the company's technology not only in China and Russia, but elsewhere in the world.

Orbite's patent portfolio consists of nine patents in the USA, Canada, Australia, China and Russia and there are 31 patent applications pending in nine countries.

The commissioning and optimisation of Orbite's Cap Chat high purity alumina plant is 'progressing according to plan', says Orbite and the aim is to ship samples of the HPA produced to customers around the world during the first quarter of 2013.

All material processed at the Cap Chat plant has been sourced from Orbite's own aluminous clay deposits in Grande-Vallée, Quebec.

In capacity terms, HPA production is expected to increase from its current 'less than one tonne per day' to three tonnes by mid-2013 following installation of additional alumina calcination equipment in Q2 of 2013 – when commercial production will begin. By end 2013 the plant should be producing five tonnes per day.

The Orbite system – which differs widely from other processes used by the HPA industry – is expected to produce higher purities at lower production costs, according to the company,

A smelter grade alumina (SGA) is also in the pipeline and is currently at the 'feasibility study' stage.

• Orbite has been named winner of the Quebec Ministry of Finance and Economics' 2013 PerformAS Award in recognition of its achievements in furthering innovation and development of the chemical industry within the Province of Quebec.