Joint venture partners Orocobre and Toyota Tsusho Corporation have closed a $192 million debt financing deal with Mizuho Corporate Bank to fund construction of the Olaroz lithium project. The loan has completed the financing plan to complete the project in Jujuy province of northern Argentina.

Orocobre’s managing director Richard Seville says, “This is the last part of the financing for Olaroz. Our valued partner, Toyota Tsusho, has delivered a comprehensive and low cost debt package for the project. Construction has commenced and we are on the way to production in quarter 2 of 2014.

“It is noteworthy that this milestone occurs almost exactly five years to the day of the company’s listing on the ASX. Many of those shareholders who were with us then, are still with us now, and I thank them for their continued interest and look forward to sharing the moment of first production in 2014,” he says.

The Olaroz project JV is being operated through Orocobre’s Argentine subsidiary, Sales de Jujuy SA. It is the first large-scale, greenfield, brine-based lithium project to be developed in 20 years in Argentina, with projected annual production of 17,500 tonnes of low-cost battery grade lithium carbonate, commencing by June 2014.

Orocobre also owns Borax Argentina, an important regional borate producer. The company was named 2012 Mining Company of the Year by Argentine mining magazine Panorama Minero and the Foundation for Development of Argentina Mining.

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