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Toyota’s Lithium-Based Future

Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) and Toyota Tsusho (South Sea) Corporation (OTCMKTS:OTC:TYHOY) have each made their own significant investments throughout the lithium supply chain. Yet collectively, their Joint Venture has allowed for a junior lithium explorer, currently surveying throughout Argentina, and has permitted a major ramp-up in the production of large format lithium-based batteries, en route to the mass roll out of the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).

Direct Investment in Emerging Argentine Low Cost Lithium Project

Toyota Tsusho established a Joint Venture (JV) with Australian-based Orocobre Limited (OTCMKTS:OTCPK:OROCF), a company who is aggressively working on a low-cost lithium brine project in Jujuy, Argentina. With the addition of Toyota, the project has continued to develop and today, the Olaroz Lithium Project is estimated to have reached a construction cost of USD$229M, including contingency. The Olaroz Lithium Project, fully funded through the Mizuho Corporate Bank, has joint equity contribution from both, Orocobre and Toyota. Orocobre holds 66.6% ownership of the project, with Toyota owning 25%, and 8.5% belongs to the Juju Province Mining and Energy Company (JEMSE). It has been projected that production will generate 17,500 tonnes per annum of low-cost battery grade lithium carbonate. Orocobre has recently provided a quarterly update informing their investors that the project is to be completed on time and within budget. Orocobre claims it is building the first large scale “green fields” lithium brine project in approximately 20 years at a capital cost of US$229.1m and will have a design capacity of 17,500tpa of battery grade lithium carbonate.
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