I've just now had some time to sit down and read the anonymous "analyst" comments posted anonymously here yesterday. Irrespective of whether the author did or did not visit the plant, there are numerous inconsistencies and mistakes in what was written.
First of all, Orbite announced the ordering of a calcination unit from Outotec for HPA last June. They also at that time stated that they would have rare earth processing capabilities at the HPA plant up and running in 2013. In October, they announced that they would separate scandium and gallium and that this would happen later in 2013 while HPA would be produced in Q1. Their budget of $45 million was for 1-3 tonnes per day production and they stated additional costs would be required to go to 5 tonnes per day. Therefore, the cost "overruns" stated by the analyst are nothing of the sort and are for further production capacity and byproduct production. Orbite is on budget, but behind their initial goal for commercial production, which was slated for startup in Q1 of 2013 as stated in news releases in the Fall but now delayed by 1 quarter as they continue commissioning and allow product testing by perspective clients. Orbite disclosed in a corporate presentation last summer that they had 22 NDA's signed with prospective clients. Secondly, Orbite has never publicly released HPA OPEX numbers as they have not performed a feasibility study on the HPA business (as they point out repeatedly). The closest they came to publicly releasing OPEX numbers was the white paper on HPA that shows a pie chart comparison of costs between SGA and HPA. Depending on how you look at the chart, you can make some assumptions and come up with a HPA OPEX of somewhere between ~$11,000 per tonne and $26,000 per tonne. Interestingly enough, these two values are variously used by analysts in their own calculations of profitability. Luisa Moreno independently came up with a value of ~$10,000 per tonne (~$11,000 per tonne initially and then $9,000 per tonne after a few years of use). Based on changes to the process recently announced, and improvements in acid recovery also recently announced, I personnally estimate that Orbite's HPA costs will come in ~$5,000 per tonne. Naturally, true numbers won't be known until after a couple of quarters of reported earnings from the HPA plant.