BRISBANE, Australia, March 31, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Orocobre Limited (ASX: ORE, TSX: ORL) (Orocobre or the Company) advises the Government of Argentina announced it will extend until 12 April, 2020 the national mandatory quarantine established by the Decree of Necessity and Urgency (DNU) #297/20 published on March 19, 2020.
The Argentine Ministry of Production has declared Olaroz and Borax operations, amongst other mining operations, as "essential" activities. The main implication of this declaration is that it allows certain activities to be undertaken within strict health and safety standards, in coordination with the provincial COVID-19 Emergency Operational Centres.
Safety is the Company’s highest priority and the focus is on the health of workers, their families and those of related communities. A strict biosecurity protocol has been developed and implemented in all workplaces and additional health screening has been enacted for staff entering Olaroz and Borax sites. Rosters have been extended and crew sizes have been reduced to maximise social distancing.
At Olaroz, initial activities have focussed on pond maintenance to ensure the brine concentration process is managed through the period of plant shut down. To minimise the movement of personnel and finalise restart approvals, plant processing facilities will be progressively readied as required.
Borax will recommence production with minimal personnel and comply with strict biosecurity procedures to ensure supply of essential products to customers.
On-site operations for the Olaroz Stage 2 expansion remain suspended, however engineering, planning and procurement work is continuing.
Operations at Olaroz ceased on 20 March 2020 and production for the quarter to that date was 2,732 tonnes. Production was also impacted by a scheduled ten day maintenance shutdown in early February resulting in a total 21 days of lost production during the quarter.
In light of the current uncertainties with production in Argentina and disruption of future demand in global markets, the Company withdraws previous production guidance.
Joint Company Secretary
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About Orocobre Limited
Orocobre Limited (Orocobre) is a dynamic global lithium carbonate producer and an established producer of boron. Orocobre is dual listed on the Australia and Toronto Stock Exchanges (ASX:ORE), (ORL.TO). Orocobre’s operations include its Olaroz Lithium Facility in Northern Argentina, Borax Argentina, an established Argentine boron minerals and refined chemicals producer and a 34.7% interest in Advantage Lithium. The Company has commenced an expansion at Olaroz and construction of the Naraha Lithium Hydroxide Plant in Japan. For further information, please visit www.orocobre.com.