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Orocobre reports lithium production and sales growth in March quarter

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(Kitco News) - Argentina-focused lithium producer and developer Orocobre today reported that its lithium carbonate production for the March quarter 2021 was 3,232 tonnes, up 18% from 2,732 tonnes for the March quarter 2020 with 55% of production being battery grade lithium carbonate.

The company said that brine concentration remains at higher levels than in recent years resulting in high daily production rates, higher plant recovery and continued low costs. A nine-day plant shutdown was undertaken in February for planned maintenance.

Product sales were 3,032 tonnes of lithium carbonate, up 20% compared to the March quarter 2020 but down 30% compared to December quarter 2020 after a strong December quarter. Total sales revenue was up 46% to US$17.7 compared to March quarter 2020.

At Olaroz, Stage 2 expansion project is expected to be complete in first half of 2022 and to commence production the following half. Production will ramp up over two years to full capacity of 25ktpa of primary grade lithium carbonate by second half of 2024.

The company said that the lithium market continued recovering during the March 2021 quarter. Average global prices for lithium carbonate increased by more than 50% from the December 2020 quarter as demand from cathode manufacturers continued to increase production in response to the electric vehicle driven demand.

Orocobre is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange (ASX:ORE) (TSX:ORL) and is a substantial Argentinian-based industrial chemicals and minerals company operating a portfolio of lithium, potash and boron projects and facilities in the Puna region of northern Argentina.

The company has built, in partnership with Toyota Tsusho and the investment division of the Jujuy Provincial Government, the first large-scale, greenfield brine-based lithium project in approximately 20 years at the Salar de Olaroz with planned production of 42,500 tpa of low-cost lithium carbonate.

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