Orocobre Limited ("Orocobre" or "the Company") is pleased to advise that progress on the Olaroz Lithium Project continues to proceed on time and within budget.
In terms of physical progress the construction program is approximately 65% complete.
The brine pumping rate has reached approximately 150 l/s. The steady state operational rate required is 180l/s with a peak filling rate of approximately 220l/s to be achieved as the remaining bores are connected to the brine pumping and supply system.
The liming plant is approximately 80% complete with piping and electric works the focus during November. The liming plant is scheduled to be commissioned in December.
The gas pipeline has been completed. 'Gas Atacama' has inspected and approved the pipeline. Regulation stations are currently being installed.
Evaporation pond earthworks remain ahead of schedule. Evaporation pond 1B is on schedule to be lined in December and subsequently filled.
Civil works are complete on the lithium processing plant, finished goods warehouse and the soda ash warehouse.
The electricity generation plant is currently under construction and due for completion in December. There are currently 3 diesel generators in service.
SAP has been fully implemented. Training and system refinement continues. Improvements and upgrades to the IT and telephony systems were conducted during October and November with a CCTV system also installed at Olaroz.
The project continues to proceed on time and within budget. A total of approximately US$147m has been spent or committed via executed contracts in the construction project to date.
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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.