www.ceotodaymagazine.com 96 CEO Today Global Awards 2019 australia RICHARD SEVILLE CEO of Orocobre Limited ABOUT RICHARD SEVILLE From explorer to billion-dollar, low-cost global minerals producer It is rare for a start-up exploration company to become a billion-dollar minerals producer. It only happens with great assets and exceptional leadership. In Orocobre’s case, Salar de Olaroz in northern Argentina provided the asset but Richard Seville brought the leadership. Richard is a mining geologist and geotechnical engineer and has over 35 years’ experience in exploration, development and production, and nearly 25 years in the corporate field as a Director involved in resource development funding through both debt and equity with companies listed on ASX, TSX and AIM. He is a graduate of the Royal School of Mines and James Cook University in North Queensland and holds a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours in Mining Geology and a Master of Engineering Science in Rock Engineering. Richard joined the Board of Orocobre Limited (“Orocobre” or “the Company”) as Managing Director in 2007, when it was an unlisted Argentinian exploration company, chaired by Neil Stuart. It was these two who guided Orocobre through to listing on the ASX in December 2007. Under Richard’s leadership, Orocobre has emerged as a significant contributor to global lithium production. The Olaroz Lithium Facility is today one of the world’s lowest cost producers, positioning Orocobre as the only ASX listed company producing high grade, high value lithium chemicals for global battery and technical markets. Among his many other achievements, Richard was responsible for the successful exploration campaign at Olaroz, establishment of the Orocobre/Toyota Tsusho Corporation (“Toyota Tsusho”) Joint Venture, development of the Olaroz Lithium Facility, and the funding of the Stage 2 Expansion at Olaroz and Naraha Lithium Hydroxide Plant. Richard has managed Orocobre’s growth from an explorer to become a major global producer of lithium carbonate at the Olaroz project, the world’s first commercial, brine-based lithium operation to have emerged in more than 20 years. Following an extensive exploration and scoping phase undertaken between 2008-2012, construction of the Olaroz LithiumFacility officially commenced in November 2012 and commercial production and sales began in 2015. Since then Orocobre has rapidly developed into one of the world’s largest and lowest cost lithium chemicals producers, operating a world class asset with a very large resource, capable of sustaining multiple internally funded expansions. Production for 2018 Financial Year increased to 12,470 tonnes of lithium carbonate, a 5% increase as operations continued to improve from the previous year. Richard was instrumental in negotiating the Toyota Tsusho Joint Venture in 2010 and has been key to the management of the relationship since. Toyota Tsusho is approximately 22% owned by Toyota Motor Corporation and approximately 11% by Toyota Industries Corporation and is the sole general trading arm of Toyota Group. In 2018, Richard guided Orocobre’s strategic funding initiative with Toyota Tsusho to accelerate an increased Stage 2 Expansion at the Olaroz Lithium Facility. The Stage 2 Olaroz Expansion will add 25,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of lithium carbonate production capacity (up from the originally planned 17,500 tpa), taking Olaroz’s total production capacity to 42,500 tpa at full production. In addition, Orocobre and Toyota Tsusho are jointly developing a 10,000 tpa lithium hydroxide plant in Naraha, Japan. At the helm of Orocobre for the past 12 years, Richard has generated tremendous shareholder value but more importantly, he has established a culture at Orocobre that is based on understanding and analysis, operational excellence, sustainability and values of fairness, respect and integrity. His commitment to shared value over the past decade has instilled a strong sense of purpose across all levels of the organisation. After 12 years leading the Company through this extraordinary period, Richard is stepping down from the role of Managing Director and CEO and will move to the Board as a Non-Executive Director. The legacy he leaves is a company that has a world class resource in Olaroz, well developed strategies for expansion, and the management and joint venture partners necessary for its continued success.