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Orocobre Updates Construction Progress at Olaroz Lithium Project

Orocobre Limited ("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 progress on time and within budget.

Over the past month the following tasks have been completed:

  • Liming plant ground works and foundations.
  • Raw water pipeline.
  • Road and platforms on the salar.

The following tasks are in progress or commenced in May:

  • Foundations and metal structure fabrication for process plant buildings, soda ash warehouse, finished product warehouse and maintenance facilities.
  • Raw water pumping station - Electrical control room installation.
  • Preparation for overhead power line construction in Area 4000-7000-8000.
  • Ground work and concrete foundations of water treatment plant.
  • Waste water treatment plant 2nd stage.
  • Mechanical erection of liming plant.
  • Brine Wells - drilling.
  • Brine pipeline - installation.
  • Site surveillance - access control.
  • Evaporation pond construction.
  • Vegetation removal and manual site clearance.
  • Ground work and concrete foundations for liming plant.
  • Liming plant structure - fabrication.
  • Ground work and concrete foundations for water plant.
  • Water plant tank construction.
  • Gas pipeline construction.
  • Definitive camp (supply and erection).
  • Definitive camp infrastructure construction.
  • Overflow channel construction.
  • Concrete supply on site.
  • Camp infrastructure (Sewage, water and power lines).

The following tasks are scheduled to begin in June and July:

  • Construction of process buildings (main building, soda ash and end product storage).
  • Liner installation at evaporation ponds.
  • Construction of reinforced earth gabions for transfer pumps foundations.
  • Construction of overhead power line - LMT Area 4000-7300-8000.
  • Construction of warehouse and maintenance workshop building.

Approximately $101m of the US$229m capital budget has been committed or spent (up from $87m last month) and all major contracts awarded to this point remain on, or under, budget. The process of tendering and awarding contracts is on schedule.

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 engagement of the community also extends to the provision of health services and programs to encourage the continued education of young people.

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 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 from Mizuho Corporate Bank. First production is scheduled for the end of the second quarter, 2014.

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