2 May 2018
In the news: Plateau Energy Metals
FROM THE BROKING DESK
PLATEAU ENERGY METALS††† — Large Lithium Deposit to Go with its Significant Uranium Resource
For Plateau Energy Metals (PLU : CN | C$0.61 | US$31m), drilling results at Falchani in Peru continue to suggest that it is onto a significant lithium deposit. Having outlined some large uranium resources and completed a PEA into the development of a uranium project elsewhere on its Macusani Project area in 2016, the company’s focus has recently changed to the Falchani area. In October 2017 Plateau announced that it had negotiated an access agreement with the local Chaccaconiza community, giving it the right to conduct drilling and environmental baseline work for a period of six months (ie, until mid-April 2018). Previous work had identified a large uranium anomaly of around 2km2 at Falchani, which the company was keen to follow up. The results of the first drill hole were announced in mid-November. This, and other subsequent holes announced (the most recent earlier this week), outlined an upper layer of uranium mineralization that is variable in thickness and grade.
Most significant in the latest results was the presence of a lithium-rich tuff unit that is approximately 80-100m thick, relatively flat-lying and at a depth of from around 100-200m below surface. Drilling and mapping of the outcrop of the tuff unit suggest that it extends over an area of around 2km2, indicating the large-scale resource potential of the deposit.
The lithium grade is reported to be remarkably consistent and averages around 0.7% LiO2. Although this is lower than some competing spodumene-based projects, the deposit has a number of significant advantages, including the indicated low strip ratio, which looks likely to be less than 1:1, and also the potential for bulk mining of the relatively soft tuff material. Initial metallurgical test-work showed that 77-80% of the lithium could be leached to a sulphate solution at atmospheric temperature and at a temperature of 89ºC.
Lithium was reportedly hosted in an unstable volcanic glass matrix, a factor that was responsible for the relatively good leaching characteristics compared to those of spodumene-based mineralisation. However, it appears that material from Falchani will have to be leached as whole ore and, unlike spodumene-based projects, it is unlikely to be concentrated prior to leaching.
In mid-March 2018 Plateau announced that the next stage of metallurgical test-work was underway on a representative 200kg sample that has been sent to the ANSTO labs in Sydney. The programme is planned to confirm the leaching results, impurity removal and lithium product precipitation and characterisation. The company plans to announce an initial lithium resource for Falchani and the results of the metallurgical test-work before the end of 2Q18. We anticipate the publication of a large-scale resource of moderate-grade lithium and expect that the results of the metallurgical test-work will be key to future discussions regarding value.
*RFC Ambrian acts as Nomad to this company
†RFC Ambrian acts as Broker to this company
††RFC Ambrian acts as Agency Broker to this company
**RFC Ambrian has acted as a Placing Agent for this company
***RFC Ambrian acts as Financial Adviser to this company
†††RFC Ambrian has received fees from this company over the last 12 months
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