Toyota Tsusho, a member of the Toyota Group, announced that it has signed a Share Subscription Agreement with Orocobre Limited to become a 15% shareholder. The total investment amount will be about AUS $292 million.
The company believes that lithium demand is expected to continue growing with the shift to EV, in addition to the steady growth of battery-powered consumer electronics. Demand growth to date has seen the lithium price more than doubled in the past few years.
Toyota Tsusho and Orocobre have been long-term partners in the development of the Olaroz Lithium Facility in Argentina, a lithium brine project, which was brought into successful production in 2014, and Toyota Tsusho has established a worldwide sales network for lithium from Olaroz since the first production.
Through this investment, Toyota Tsusho and Orocobre will elevate their existing long term project partnership to a new level of strategic alliance. The capital injected by Toyota Tsusho’s strategic investment will be used primarily for the expansion of the Olaroz Project (Phase 2), which targets 25,000 tonnes per annum(LCE) of additional capacity. The expansion will potentially bring the total nameplate capacity of the Olaroz Project to 42,500 tonnes per annum.
The Stage 2 expansion plan is expected to reach its final investment decision in mid-2018 once financing, approvals and engineering are completed, with commissioning in 2H 2019. As a key part of this strategic investment, Toyota Tsusho will be appointed as the exclusive sales agent for Phase 2 production and will secure a long term stable supply of lithium products to respond to the growing market demand.
Toyota Tsusho will also develop the value chain via joint investment in a Lithium Hydroxide project in Japan.
Overview of Orocobre / Olaroz Lithium Facility
- Australian listed lithium developer and producer
- Main asset: Olaroz project in Jujuy province, Argentina
- Current production: nameplate capacity 17,500 tonnes per annum (production since 2014)
- Toyota Tsusho shareholding in Orocobre: 15%
- Olaroz project: Orocobre: 66.5%, Toyota Tsusho: 25%, JEMSE: 8.5%
- Toyota Tsusho to be Exclusive Sales Agent for 100% of Olaroz production (Phase 1 and Phase 2)
Source: Toyota Tsusho