BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/19/13 -- Editors Note: There are photos associated with this press release.
OROCOBRE LIMITED (TSX: ORL)(ASX: ORE) A large function involving dignitaries, government, company staff, representatives of ten local communities and members of the business community was held on Thursday 14 March at the Salar de Olaroz to celebrate the official opening of the Olaroz project construction. Approximately 500 people attended.
The ceremony was attended by dignitaries Amado Bodou, Vice-President of Argentina; Eduardo Fellner, Governor of the Province of Jujuy; Hector Luzco, Susques Municipal Commissioner; Misashi Mizukami, Japan's Ambassador to Argentina and company representatives, James Calaway, Chairman; Richard Seville, Managing Director; Federico Nicholson, Director; Jose De Castro Alem, Group General Manager.
Richard Seville, Managing Director, highlighted that the Company's partner, Toyota Tsusho Corporation and financiers had had the confidence and trust that local management would deliver the project on time and within budget and hence supported the project.
"There were two main aspects that created this confidence and trust. First, there is the technical confidence created by Sales de Jujuy who developed a unique process for production of lithium carbonate, the purest in the world, which has two years of production history through the pilot plant. Secondly, there is the confidence to build Olaroz and commission the operation successfully. What we are doing here is novel and we had to initiate a process to market and sell the project to convince our financiers and partners."
On the policy of Sales de Jujuy adding value in the local Jujuy community, Mr Seville said that the creativity and problem-solving skills of the Argentine team provides a different approach to construction and as a result created a partnership between business, local communities and provincial and federal government.
"This strategy has a name and it is called JUJUY FIRST. It is therefore essential that Sales de Jujuy maintain control of the project and always keep in mind the objective to maximise social and economic benefits for the province.
"With nearly US$80m of contracts awarded to date, 60% of the providers are Jujuy based companies and the remaining 20% is with other Argentine companies. In my view, this is an unprecedented amount of local content for any mining project in the country and this process did not increase our budget," said Mr Seville.
In terms of the social responsibility strategy implemented by Sales de Jujuy, Mr Seville said that this is maintained by the cooperation of the ten communities near the project and as an example he cited the joint direction they give to the Labour Exchange, which provides the system that allows opportunities for employment, education and training for local community people, contractors and businesses. "Now, 70% of people employed are from local communities and 95% are from Jujuy."
Finally, he acknowledged the association with the government and cited the government equity position through JEMSE, thanked the government sectors that were involved in approving the project and expressed his personal pride in working in collaboration and partnership across all government, business and community sectors to start production of lithium carbonate.
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