BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwired - March 5, 2014) - Orocobre Limited (ASX:ORE)(TSX:ORL) ("Orocobre" or "the Company") is pleased to advise progress on construction of the flagship Olaroz Lithium Project.
- Liming plant fully commissioned and magnesium removal from brine commences as brine is pumped from pond 4B to 4A
- Gas pipeline completed and awaiting connection by Gas Atacama
- Construction projected to be completed on time and within budget
In terms of physical progress the construction program is approximately 80% complete. A total of approximately US$178m has been spent or committed via executed contracts in the construction project to date.
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The southern bore field brine duct was commissioned on 26th February and now delivers brine directly into pond 4B from the southern field. This replaces the temporary trench system which was moving brine to the northern field intermediate pump station.
The liming plant commissioning was officially completed on 10th February. This was marginally behind the end of January target due to issues with the electrical control circuits for the ball mill motor. With the liming plant now commissioned, magnesium removal from the brine is occurring as brine is pumped from pond 4B to 4A. This is an important step in the process of brine purification.
The gas pipeline has been completed and we are now awaiting the gas branch line connection from Gas Atacama to be completed in order to commission the use of natural gas. This is expected to occur in the next two months. There are two gas generators on site with a further seven units in transit.
The reverse osmosis plant is ready for delivery and is undergoing the import approval process, the completion of which is imminent.
Construction works continue on the lithium processing plant, finished goods warehouse and the soda ash warehouse.
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The Company continues to follow the "Jujuy First" strategy to successfully work with suppliers and the employment bureau to focus on the hiring of local people from the communities of Olaroz, Huancar, Puesto Sey, Pastos Chicos, Catua, Susques, Jama, El Toro, Coranzulí, San Juan and Abrapampa. The project implementation is through EPCM (Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management) with a high proportion of local involvement through construction and supply contracts and local employment. The unique community and shared value policy continues to be a key success factor, training local people under the supervision of high quality experienced professionals.
The Olaroz lithium project is being developed by Orocobre (66.5%) with partners Toyota Tsusho Corporation ("TTC") (25%) and the Jujuy Province mining and energy company, JEMSE (8.5%) with a construction budget of US$229m including contingency. First production is scheduled for the end of the second quarter, 2014.
About Orocobre Limited
Orocobre Limited is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange (ASX:ORE)(TSX:ORL), and is building a substantial Argentinian-based industrial minerals company through the construction and operation of its portfolio of lithium, potash and boron projects and facilities in the Puna region of northern Argentina. The Company is building in partnership with Toyota Tsusho Corporation the first large-scale, "greenfield" brine based lithium project in 20 years at its flagship Salar de Olaroz resource, with projected production of 17,500 tonnes per annum of low-cost battery grade lithium carbonate scheduled to commence at the end of Q2, 2014. The Company also wholly-owns Borax Argentina, an important regional borate producer. Orocobre is included in the S&P/ASX 300 Index and was named 2012 Mining Company of the Year by Argentine mining magazine Panorama Minero and the Fundacion para el Desarrollo de la Mineria Argentina ("Fundamin" or Foundation for Development of Argentina Mining). For further information, please visit www.orocobre.com
Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Information
This news release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities legislation. Forward-looking information contained in this release may include, but is not limited to, the draw down of finance for the Olaroz Project, the completion of construction at the Olaroz Project and the timing thereof, the commencement of commercial production at the Olaroz Project and the timing thereof, the cost of construction relative to the estimated capital cost of the Olaroz Project, the design production rate for lithium carbonate and potash at the Olaroz Project, the expected brine grade at the Olaroz Project, the expected operating costs at the Olaroz Project and the comparison of such expected costs to expected global operating costs, and the ongoing working relationship between Orocobre and the Province of Jujuy.
Such forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to the risk of further changes in government regulations, policies or legislation; the possibility that required concessions may not be obtained, or may be obtained only on terms and conditions that are materially worse than anticipated; the risk that the conditions precedent to draw down the project financing with Mizuho Corporate Bank will not be met; that further funding may be required, but unavailable, for the ongoing development of the Company's projects; fluctuations or decreases in commodity prices; uncertainty in the estimation, economic viability, recoverability and processing of mineral resources; risks associated with weather patterns and impact on production rate; risks associated with construction and development of the Olaroz Project; unexpected capital or operating cost increases; uncertainty of meeting anticipated program milestones at the Olaroz Project; general risks associated with the feasibility and development of the Olaroz Project; as well as those factors disclosed in the Company's Annual Report for the year ended June 30, 2013 filed at www.sedar.com.
The Company believes that the assumptions and expectations reflected in such forward-looking information are reasonable. Assumptions have been made regarding, among other things: the timely receipt of required approvals and completion of agreements on reasonable terms and conditions; the ability of the Company to obtain financing as and when required and on reasonable terms and conditions; the prices of lithium and potash; and the ability of the Company to operate in a safe, efficient and effective manner. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list is not exhaustive of all factors and assumptions which may have been used. There can be no assurance that forward-looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
ABN 31 112 589 910