The samples were independently tested and an initial purity of greater than 4N (4N+) was recorded during an initial production run towards the end of 2012.

Orbite hopes to increase the purity to 5N and above and this is estimated to take about two months.

Richard Boudreault, president and CEO of Orbite, said that the initial production run demonstrates the company's ability to design, build and operate a commercial alumina facility on-time and on-spec using the company's patented technology.

"Given that the ground breaking for the HPA plant was barely more than six months ago, our ability to make so much progress in this very short time frame only highlights the simplicity and robustness of our innovative process," said Boudreault.

• For an exclusive interview with Richard Boudreault, see the features section of this website.