JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – ASX- and TSX-listed lithium developer Orocobre has received environmental approval from the Jujuy provincial government for the development of its Salar de Olaroz lithium/potash project, in Argentina.
The provincial Director of Mines and Energy Resources approved the project late last month, following recommendations by the Unit of Mining and Environmental Management.
Orocobre said in a statement on Tuesday that the local community as well as other regional community leaders supported the development recommendation.
As part of the approval, Orocobre must comply with various monitoring obligations, provide additional information on its planned construction work as the project design is finalised, and keep the local communities informed about its activities.
“We are delighted to have received approval for the environmental-impact statement for the development and operation of our Olaroz project.
“This is a major milestone for the company and is the key government approval,” said MD Richard Seville.
The Olaroz lithium project consists of 118 km2 of tenements over a salar known to contain high values of lithium in brine.
Orocobre is developing the Olaroz project in a joint venture (JV) with Toyota Tusho, a Toyota Group company.
Toyota Tusho will provide $4,5-million to fund the completion of the definitive feasibility study (DFS), which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of this year, to earn a 25% stake in the JV.
It will also be responsible for securing a Japanese government-guaranteed low-cost debt facility for at least 60% of the project’s development costs.
Initial commercial production at Olaroz is expected to begin in 2012. Orocobre also owns the Salar de Salinas Grandes project in Argentina.
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