Orocobre's (ASX:ORE, TSE:ORL) shares jumped on Monday after the company said physical construction of its main Olaroz lithium project is now 95% complete, with the lithium carbonate plant nearing completion.
In a progress update the company told investors it has spent about US$221 million so far on construction, with the project expected to be completed on budget.
It said that despite windy conditions and the need to help contractors procure their remaining material and components, it has materially managed to maintain its schedule.
The start of the lithium carbonate plant commissioning is targeted for the end of the month, with full automatic operation anticipated in October.
The company also reported Monday that the gas-fired electricity generation plant at Olaroz was commissioned in July on schedule, while the lining of the remaining evaporation ponds is now 97% complete.
The Olaroz lithium project in Argentina is being developed by Orocobre, which owns a 66.5% stake, as well as partners Toyota Tsusho with a 25% stake and the Jujuy Province mining and energy company with an 8.5% interest. Their total construction budget is US$229 million.
Orocobre's goal is to build the first large-scale, "greenfield" brine-based lithium project in 20 years at its Salar de Olaroz resource, with projected production of 17,500 tonnes per year of battery-grade lithium carbonate. It also owns Borax Argentina, a regional borate producer.
Shares climbed 7% on Monday, to C$2.75 in Toronto, stretching year-to-date gains to more than 17%.
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