Lithium Miner Orocobre Denies Plans to List Shares in Argentina

  • Bloomberg earlier cited people familiar saying listing planned
  • Brisbane-based Orocobre has traded in Toronto since 2010

Australian lithium miner Orocobre Ltd. said it has no plans to list its shares in Argentina.

The company also said it hadn’t appointed Banco Santander Rio SA or Puente Hnos SA as advisers. Bloomberg earlier cited people familiar with the matter as saying that Orocobre, which owns the Salar de Olaroz lithium mine and is a partner in the Olaroz lithium facility in Argentina, planned to list shares there.

Orocobre, which is based in the Milton area of Brisbane, has traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange since 2010. The company is seeking to complete the listing in as soon as 11 weeks, and may sell shares as part of the operation, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

Argentina wants to lure more mining companies to develop reserves in its lithium-rich northern region that borders mines in Chile and Bolivia. The three countries are home to 40 percent of the world’s lithium deposits. The government hopes mining will help drive a nascent economic recovery after a recession last year and capture demand from battery-makers including Tesla Inc. About 40 foreign companies are studying projects in Argentina’s mining industry, more than half of those in lithium, according to Mining Secretary Daniel Meilan.

Orocobre produces the metal at Salar de Olaroz in Argentina, atop salt flats in the province of Jujuy. Orocobre will invest $160 million over three years to increase production in Jujuy to 30,000 metric tons a year in 2020 from 13,000 tons now, Argentina said in March after a government delegation visited Australia. Toyota Tsusho Corp., an affiliate of Toyota Motor Corp., is a minority stakeholder in the project.

Officials at Puente earlier declined to comment. The Santander Rio press office didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

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