Ramp Up at Orocobre’s Olaroz Slower Than Expected

- June 18th, 2015

Orocobre (TSX:ORL,ASX:ORE) provided an update on progress at its Olaroz lithium project. Ramp-up at the project has been slower than expected due to a number of production “bottle necks.” These issues have been successfully rectified.

Orocobre (TSX:ORL,ASX:ORE) provided an update on progress at its Olaroz lithium project. Ramp-up at the project has been slower than expected due to a number of production “bottle necks.” These issues have been successfully rectified.

The lithium carbonate plant continues to produce both battery grade and technical grade lithium carbonate to fulfil sample and customer order requirements.

The production ramp up has been slower than anticipated with 26 tonnes of saleable lithium carbonate produced up to the end of April, 44 tonnes produced in May and 100 tonnes expected to be produced in June. An additional 150 tonnes of lithium carbonate inventory produced from the primary circuit is in stock and will be further processed through the purification circuit in due course.

The slower than expected ramp up has been due principally to a number of “bottle necks” caused by both physical/equipment limitations and the development of good operating practices. These “bottlenecks” have been sequentially identified through the plant and the majority have been successfully rectified. The remaining areas are expected to be resolved in the coming 3-4 months.

As would be a normal part of early operations with any new plant, production runs have provided the basis for identification and rectification of limitations. The progress made has been pleasing and as a result we wish to provide guidance on the phased schedule for increasing production output. Production for the coming quarter is forecast to be 1,200 tonnes in total, with the full production rate of 1,450 tonnes per month expected to be achieved in the 4th quarter following modifications to the purification circuit discussed in the section below.

It is also expected that by October 2015, there will be sufficient quantities of concentrated brine to supply the plant at full capacity. Currently there is in excess of 32,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent in the Olaroz pond system at various stages of concentration, with the overall process recoveries expected to be approximately 75%. This inventory will allow rapid ramp-up of production once the final plant issues have been rectified.

Click here to read the Orocobre (TSX:ORL,ASX:ORE) press release

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