Could Orocobre Really Fail?

John Robertson


Orocobre may fail in its efforts to produce battery-grade lithium carbonate. That’s the view of Pilbara Minerals CEO Neil Biddle. Biddle was speaking in Melbourne on Tuesday about why his potential lithium mine in Western Australia was more likely to succeed than Orocobre’s new brine processing plant in Argentina. No one has produced battery-grade material from brine as yet, according to Biddle. “I wish them luck”, he said dismissively referring to the $395 million lithium producer presently ramping up production. Orocobre’s mooted failure would be financially disastrous and the biggest news to hit the mining sector this year or it might simply be a nasty case of project envy. In October 2012, Pilbara Minerals announced it would reposition itself as an explorer “in one of the most prospective and under-explored geological regions of the PNG Highlands”. Nothing ever came of that expensive dead end. In July 2014, Biddle said he would commence mining tantalum at Tabba Tabba in the third quarter of 2014. We’re still waiting. Sometimes, forcing people to make a judgement is not a good idea.

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John Robertson
John Robertson

John Robertson is Chief Investment Strategist for PortfolioDirect a provider of resource sector investment stock ratings and portfolio strategies for mining and oil and gas investors. He has worked as a policy economist, corporate business...


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