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Orocobre hit by drop in flagship mine's output, says lithium prices likely at bottom

Australia's Orocobre Ltd said on Thursday that lithium prices have likely bottomed out, as it reported a 24% drop in quarterly production at its flagship Olaroz mine in Argentina, hit by coronavirus-related operational restrictions.

Adds Naraha plant commissioning delay, share move

Oct 29 (Reuters) - Australia's Orocobre Ltd ORE.AX said on Thursday that lithium prices have likely bottomed out, as it reported a 24% drop in quarterly production at its flagship Olaroz mine in Argentina, hit by coronavirus-related operational restrictions.

Orocobre said in a statement that prices of the commodity used in electric vehicle batteries appear to have bottomed out and that it expected higher realised prices in the second quarter.

Production from the Olaroz plant in Argentina for the September quarter came in at 2,352 tonnes, down from 3,093 tonnes last year, even as sales rose 9%.

The Brisbane-based company, which signed an offtake deal with a joint venture owned by Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T and Panasonic 6752.T during the quarter, added that the commissioning of the Naraha Lithium Hydroxide Plant in Japan has been delayed to the second half of next year.

Shares of the miner fell 3.6% in early trade, outpacing the broader market's 1.6% decline.

Orocobre peer Pilbara Minerals PLS.AX on Wednesday revealed a plan to buy embattled lithium producer Altura Mining Ltd AJM.AX after the latter entered administration this week.

(Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Tom Brown)

((Pranav.AK@thomsonreuters.com; Twitter: @AKPranav1; +918061823270;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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