Eco Investor November 2015

Pre-Profit Securities

Orocobre's Environmental Impact

With its Olaroz lithium project in Argentina ramping up to full production, Orocobre has put out a statement showing that the project has "a very low environmental footprint".

The high processing recovery of lithium and the low unit costs mean the process will result in low cut-off grades that will maximize overall resource recovery, it said.

The process route has zero liquid discharge. All waste products are stored in the permanently lined evaporation ponds, and at the end of the project the ponds will be capped and returned to a similar profile with the placement of soil and the planting of original types of vegetation.

The brine is extracted from wells with minimum impact on freshwater resources outside of the salar (lake). As the lithium is in sedimentary aquifers with relatively low permeability, drawdowns are only needed from the salar. The technology consumes a maximum of less than 20 l/s of fresh water, which is very low by industry standards.

The process uses solar energy to concentrate the lithium in the brine, so the carbon footprint is lower than for other processes, and only a small number of common, low environmental impact reagents are used.

Orocobre said its operating subsidiary, Sales de Jujuy S.A., is committed to the ten principles of the sustainable development framework developed by The International Council on Mining and Metals, and it has an active and well-funded program to share value and help the long term development of the local people.

Orocobre expects to finalize some current engineering issues and achieve its breakeven point of around 650 tonnes of lithium carbonate production per month in December. (ASX: ORE)

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