Orocobre to sign lithium deal with Toyota

Mixed Greens: Orocobre poised to sign lithium deal with Toyota

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Oz lithium group set to finalise JV with Toyota Tsusho. Plus: UK eyes Africa renewables potential; Denmark green-powers on; Saudi solar billions.

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Australian lithium group Orocobre says it is poised to finalise its joint venture arrangements with Toyota Tsusho after the Japanese company – an offshoot of the car giant – gave internal approval to take a 25 per cent stake in its Salar de Olaroz project lithium project in Argentina. Toyota Tsusho will also take the entire output of the mine which it will use for lihtium batteries used in mobile phones and electric vehicles, or sell to others. The project has an estimated capital cost of around $207 million and is expected to come into production next year.

Orocobre also says the project will be financed by loans from Mizuho Corporate Bank and debt guarantees from the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation. It will have a higher debt to equity ratio than expected of 70:30. The rate of production from the project is also higher, producing an anticipated 17,500 tpa of lithium carbonate, an increase from 16,400 tpa in the feasibility study. Toyota Tsusho is 22 per cent owned by Toyota Motor Corp, one of the world’s biggest makers of hybrid cars – including the Prius and the Camry.

In other news…

The UK government has revealed plans to send a trade delegation, including 30 executives with green technology and financial expertise for from 19 UK companies, to a group of East African countries to investigate a market they say has the potential to develop more than 15,000MW of renewable energy. Bloomberg reports that the delegation, headed up by UK energy and climate minister Greg Barker, will visit geothermal and wind power projects in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania in the first week of October.

New government figures out of Denmark how the country generated over 40 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources last year. BusinessGreen reports that the data from the Danish Energy Agency, released this week, show that consumption of renewable energy rose by 2.5 per cent in 2011 to 174PJ, meaning that renewable energy accounted for 23.6 per cent of total consumption, up from 22.1 per cent in 2010.

Saudi Arabia is looking to attract $109 billion in investment for solar to put towards its goal of meeting a third of its national power needs from solar.

And a new report from Pike Research estimates that US military spending on renewable energy programs, including conservation measures, will increase steadily over the next 12 years, reaching around $1.8 billion in 2025, reports PV Magazine.

Hyundai is set to to unveil what it claims will be the world’s first production fuel-cell EV at the Paris auto show this week. The car maker is betting that fuel-cell EVs are a more realistic green auto option than pure EVs like the Nissan Leaf.

Luxury hybrid EV maker Fisker Automotive has raised more than $US100 million from private investors, as it works to overcome issues with its Karma sedan and to deliver a second model. Bloomberg reports that this latest funding round brings the total raised to more than $1.2 billion, according to the company, which plans to have production dates and details of its Atlantic model available by December.

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