Orocobre Limited: Boric Acid Plant Pre-Feasibility Study Commences at Borax Argentina

Orocobre Limited: Boric Acid Plant Pre-Feasibility Study Commences at Borax 
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA -- (Marketwired) -- 11/03/13 -- Orocobre Limited
(TSX:ORL)(ASX:ORE) ("Orocobre" or "the Company") is pleased to advise
of the commencement of a pre-feasibility study into the construction
of a Boric Acid plant at Olacapato in Salta Province, Argentina.  
Study Scope 
The study will assess the feasibility of constructing a boric acid
plant with a production capacity of 16-24,000 tonnes per annum boric
Feedstock for the plant would come from a variety of locations where
the Company has mineralisation currently described as historical
estimates (Refer to ASX Announcement 21 Aug 2012 found here:
http://orocobre.com/PDF/21Aug12_Borax%20Acquisition.pdf) including
Porvenir, Ratones and Diablillos located approximately 40kms, 100kms
and 130kms respectively from Olacapato. Currently, the Company is in
the process of upgrading the mineralisation at Porvenir into a JORC
compliant resource as part of this study.  
The plant flowsheet will be designed to allow treatment of lower
grade ores than are currently being processed and with the aim of
obtaining higher recoveries and reduced operating costs. Based on
earlier internal company scoping studies, the estimated capital cost
of the boric acid plant is in the range of US$13-17million including
35% contingency. 
The pre-feasibility study is scheduled to be completed early in the
first quarter 2014. Assuming a positive outcome from the
pre-feasibility study, the feasibility study would be completed and
the required permits obtained in the following six months with a view
to commence construction in the latter part of 2014. 
Background and Potential benefits 
Currently, Borax Argentina produces boric acid from a 9,000 tonnes
per annum plant at Campo Quijano near Salta city, processing ulexite
mineralisation mined from Porvenir which is located 300kms away. The
plant is designed to treat a high grade feed of ulexite
mineralisation which has been selectively mined and then upgraded by
drying and hand sorting.  
There are potential advantages to the construction of a new and
larger facility at Olacapato. In particular, by being able to process
lower grade "run-of-mine" ore the costly and time consuming p
of drying and hand sorting would be eliminated and the mining and
processing recovery of mineralisation increased. In addition, the
long cartage by road transport would be eliminated and the increased
production rate would provide economies of scale compared to current
Boric acid is used in a wide variety of applications including glass,
ceramics, fertilisers and wood preservatives. The market has a growth
profile above world GDP growth. For standard and agricultural grade
boric acid, pricing has ranged approximately between US$750/t to
$1,250/t CIF over the past 5 years.  
The Borax Argentina business was acquired by the Company from Rio
Tinto Minerals in August 2012. 
The company recently announced the relocation of the borax chemical
plant from Campo Quijano near the city of Salta to the Tincalayu
mine. The relocation is due for completion in June 2014. 
Richard Seville (Managing Director and CEO) commented: "Borax
Argentina SA has been in the Orocobre fold now for a little over a
year now and we now have a very good definition and understanding of
the business. A lot of work has been done by the local management
team in Argentina establishing the building blocks for growth. The
borax chemical plant relocation project is well underway and will be
completed by June 2014. Now it is time to also direct focus to other
products in the borate portfolio and how we position the business for
growth. Construction on the Olaroz project is now well advanced and
although Olaroz still remains our primary focus and priority, there
is an opportunity to develop and improve the Borax Argentina business
alongside Olaroz through prudent decisions to improve the cost base
and provide a future platform for growth." 
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$229.1milion including contingency. The project is fully
funded and proceeding on time and within budget. First production is
scheduled for the end of the second quarter, 2014. 
About Orocobre Limited  
Orocobre Limited is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and
Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:ORL)(ASX:ORE), and is building a
substantial Argentinian-based industrial minerals company through the
construction and operation of its portfolio of lithium, potash and
boron projects and facilities in the Puna region of northern
Argentina. The Company is building in partnership with Toyota Tsusho
Corporation the first large-scale, "greenfield" brine based lithium
project in 20 years at its flagship Salar de Olaroz resource, with
projected production of 17,500 tonnes per annum of low-cost battery
grade lithium carbonate scheduled to commence in Q2 2014. The Company
also wholly-owns Borax Argentina, an important regional borate
producer. Orocobre has recently been included in the S&P/ASX 300
Index and was named 2012 Mining Company of the Year by Argentine
mining magazine Panorama Minero and the Fundacion para el Desarrollo
de la Mineria Argentina ("Fundamin" or Foundation for Development of
Argentina Mining). For further information, please visit
Technical Information, Competent Persons' and Qualified Persons
The information in this report that relates to mineralisation at
Borax Argentina sites has been prepared by Mr Murray Brooker. Murray
Brooker is a geologist and hydrogeologist and is a Member of the
Australian Institute of Geoscientists. Murray has sufficient relevant
experience to qualify as a competent person as defined in the 2004
edition of the Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration
Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves. He is also a "Qualified
Person" as defined in NI 43-101. The information in this report that
relates to mineral processing has been prepared by Mr Peter Ehren.
Peter Ehren is a Member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and
Metallurgy and Chartered Professional and is a consulting mineral
processing engineer. Mr Ehren is also a "Qualified Person" as defined
in NI43-101.  
The Company confirms that it is not aware of any new information or
data that materially affects the information included in the
references above and that all material assumptions and technical
parameters underpinning the resource estimates continue to apply and
have not materially changed. The Company also confirms that the form
and context in which the Competent Person's findings are presented
have not been materially modified.  
Additional information relating to the Company's projects is
available on the Company's website. 
Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Information 
This news release contains "forward-looking information" within the
meaning of applicable securities legislation. Forward-looking
information contained in this release may include, but is not limited
to, the draw down of finance for the Olaroz Project, the completion
of construction at the Olaroz Project and the timing thereof, the
commencement of commercial production at the Olaroz Project and the
timing thereof, the cost of construction relative to the estimated
capital cost of the Olaroz Project, the design production rate for
lithium car
bonate and potash at the Olaroz Project, the expected
brine grade at the Olaroz Project, the expected operating costs at
the Olaroz Project and the comparison of such expected costs to
expected global operating costs, and the ongoing working relationship
between Orocobre and the Province of Jujuy. 
Such forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown
risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results
to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such
forward-looking information, including but not limited to the risk of
further changes in government regulations, policies or legislation;
the possibility that required concessions may not be obtained, or may
be obtained only on terms and conditions that are materially worse
than anticipated; the risk that the conditions precedent to draw down
the project financing with Mizuho Corporate Bank will not be met;
that further funding may be required, but unavailable, for the
ongoing development of the Company's projects; fluctuations or
decreases in commodity prices; uncertainty in the estimation,
economic viability, recoverability and processing of mineral
resources; risks associated with weather patterns and impact on
production rate; risks associated with construction and development
of the Olaroz Project; unexpected capital or operating cost
increases; uncertainty of meeting anticipated program milestones at
the Olaroz Project; general risks associated with the feasibility and
development of the Olaroz Project; as well as those factors disclosed
in the Company's Annual Information Form for the year ended June 30,
2012 filed at www.sedar.com. 
The Company believes that the assumptions and expectations reflected
in such forward-looking information are reasonable. Assumptions have
been made regarding, among other things: the timely receipt of
required approvals and completion of agreements on reasonable terms
and conditions; the ability of the Company to obtain financing as and
when required and on reasonable terms and conditions; the prices of
lithium and potash; and the ability of the Company to operate in a
safe, efficient and effective manner. Readers are cautioned that the
foregoing list is not exhaustive of all factors and assumptions which
may have been used. There can be no assurance that forward-looking
information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future
events could differ materially from those anticipated in such
information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on
forward-looking information. The Company does not undertake to update
any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable
securities laws. 
ABN 31 112 589 910
Orocobre Limited - Australia and Asia
David Hall
Business Development Manager
+61 7 3871 3985 or Mobile: +61 407 845 052
Orocobre Limited - North America
James Calaway
Mobile: +1 (713) 818 1457
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.