IM Lithium News in Brief 2 – 8 December

By Myles McCormick
Published: Tuesday, 08 December 2015

Orocobre ramp up continues; Saft awarded drone battery contract; Porsche to spend €1bn on EV facilities.

ASX-listed Orocobre Ltd said that it produced 365 tonnes lithium carbonate at its Olaroz facility in Argentina in November as it continues ramp-up efforts.

Supply chain issues relating to carbon dioxide supply meant this level was 70 tonnes less than it would otherwise have been. Orocobre said that it still intends to achieve breakeven levels of production of 650 tonnes lithium carbonate in December.

The company is continuing debottlenecking work, aimed at resolving issues that have set the ramp up back a number of times. It said that various improvements have now been made in order to heat distribution systems and that the installations of additional heat exchangers, a flocculation system and an additional boiler are on track.

TSX-V-listed Durango Resources Inc. has set up a lithium trading and information platform, which it has labelled LithiumXchange. It said that the site aims to match sellers and buyers of lithium at current world prices.

The junior explorer recently agreed a right of first refusal (ROFR) with an arm's length vendor for the 2,460 acre (9.96km2) East Fault lithium claims in South Clayton Valley, Nevada, US.

French battery producer Saft SA has received a contract worth $2.2m to supply lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries to Textron Systems, a manufacturer of defence and aerospace products.

The lightweight, 100 amp 28V ICB batteries will be used to power universal ground control stations, the facilities from which unmanned aerial systems, or drones, are piloted. They will provide emergency backup to the systems and will only be activated in the event of a power failure.

Separately, Saft was awarded a contract by ABB Marine to supply a liquid cooled Li-ion super phosphate battery system for a new hybrid cable laying vessel, to be completed in 2017. The batteries are expected to cut fuel consumption by 27%.

Finally, automotive manufacturer Porsche SE has said it will spend around €1bn ($1.09*) on production facilities at its biggest plant in Zuffenhausen, Germany, where it will build its first fully electric sports vehicle, the Mission E model.

A paint shop and assembly line at the site are expected to create around 1,000 jobs related to the production of the car, as Volkwagen AG, Porsche’s parent company, attempts to counter negative environmental perceptions following a recent emissions scandal.

*Conversion made December 2015

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