BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA -- (Marketwire) -- 02/18/13 -- Orocobre Limited (TSX: ORL)(ASX: ORE) ("Orocobre" or "the Company") is pleased to provide a progress report on the construction of the Company's flagship Olaroz lithium project.
The construction of the Olaroz lithium project continues to advance according to schedule and within budget with significant progress made, in particular with earthworks for the evaporation ponds, road construction on the salar, and earthworks for the camp and other infrastructure.
The main road across the salar is currently under construction while 2 kilometres of the auxiliary road to access the bore field from the east has been completed to allow access to the first two (of thirteen) drill platforms where drilling has commenced.
Clearing of vegetation to allow for the construction of evaporation ponds over an area of 4.2 square kilometres is 55% complete and evaporation pond construction is progressing well. Preparation of the site for the camp is well underway. Impact from the seasonal rains at this time of year has in general been positive with increased moisture content providing benefits in soil compaction.
Approximately $65m of the US$229m capital budget has been committed or spent and all major contracts awarded to this point remain on, or under, budget.
Currently 230 construction workers are at site (up from the January figure of 142) with a peak expected of 400 by mid-2013.
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 as a key success factor, training local people with supervision by high quality experienced professionals.
The Olaroz lithium project is being developed by Orocobre (66.5%) with its 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. The project is fully funded with up to US$275m of funding available via US$82.8m of equity funding from TTC and Orocobre and US$192m of project finance for Mizuho Corporate Bank. 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 (TSX: ORL)(ASX: ORE), 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 in Q2 2014. The Company also wholly-owns Borax Argentina, an important regional borate producer. Orocobre has recently been 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 le Mineria Argentina ("Fundamin" or Foundation for Development of Argentina Mining). For further information, please visit www.orocobre.com
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