Borax Argentina has extensive operations and has a fifty year production history producing borax chemicals, boric acid, "boro-glass" and boron minerals. Production currently comes from three principal mines at Tincalayu, Sijes and Porvenir, concentrators at the first two with a chemicals plant at Campo Quijano producing refined products.
There are historical estimates on the mineralisation at these mines and at two undeveloped deposits. These form the basis for developing plans for the business.
The Borax Argentina operation performed as planned and expected over the quarter. At Tincalayu, 5,139 tonnes of tincal mineralisation was mined, 37,009 tonnes of hydroboracite, ulexite and colemanite mineralisation was mined at Sijes and 25,359 tonnes of ulexite mineralisation was mined at Porvenir during the quarter.
Approximately 10,007 tonnes of combined products was sold.
During the quarter, work commenced to develop the programmes to convert some of the historical estimates to JORC/NI43-101 compliant resources. The first phase will commence this quarter and be focussed on assessing database quality and re-logging core. During the quarter a number of studies were also initiated to look at operational improvements to reduce unit costs.
Institutional Capital Raise & Shareholder Purchase Plan
On 5 November, 2012, the Company announced the completion of a placement of 12.38 million ordinary shares to institutional investors at an issue price of A$1.70 per share, raising A$20 million net proceeds. The issue price represented an 8.0% discount to the ASX closing price prior to the Company entering into a trading halt on 1 November, 2012. The non-underwritten placement was significantly oversubscribed, with participating institutional investors from Australia, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States. The offering investment dealer syndicate was led by Canaccord Genuity (Australia) Ltd., and also included Cormark Securities Inc. (who acted as a lead Canadian Manager), and Patersons Securities Ltd.
Also on 5 November, 2012 the Company announced that it would be offering eligible existing shareholders an opportunity to participate in a Shareholder Purchase Plan ("SPP") to raise up to $5 million at the same issue price as the institutional placement. Subsequently, on 30 November, the Company announced that it had completed the SPP after receiving applications for 2,197,026 shares, raising A$3,734,944.
The proceeds of the institutional and SPP capital raises will be used to fund Orocobre's equity contribution for the construction of the Olaroz lithium project, as well as funding Borax Argentina initiatives and general corporate purposes, including working capital.
New Appointment to Board of Directors
On 30 November, 2012 the Company announced the appointment of Mr. Robert Hubbard to Orocobre's Board of Directors. Mr. Hubbard replaces Mr. Neil Stuart who retired from the Board following the 2012 Annual Meeting of Shareholders on 30 November, 2012, after serving as the company's distinguished founder and valued member of the Board since the Company's inception.
Mr. Hubbard brings a wealth of experience and pertinent knowledge to the Orocobre Board. He will be retiring in March 2013 from PricewaterhouseCoopers, having served for over 20 years as a partner at the firm. During his time as a PwC partner, he served as auditor for some of Australia's largest companies and acted as head of the advisory and assurance practices of PwC Brisbane. In addition to his general Orocobre Board duties, Robert will also chair the Company's Audit Committee.
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