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Plateau Energy on the front foot

The TSXV-listed equity of lithium and uranium exploration and development company Plateau Energy Metals (PLU) has reached a new five-year high on news the company has expanded the Falchani lithium-rich mineralisation, in Peru, by a further 1km west of previously known mineralisation.
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Plateau Energy has reported high lithium grades at Falchani in Peru

Henry Lazenby in Vancouver

The results expand the current east-west footprint to 2.2km wide and 1.7km long (north-south). Delineation drilling to date confirmed a 50m-140m-thick lithium-rich tuff unit, that points to the deposit's significant scale.

The Toronto-based company reported that it had mapped and sampled a massive footprint for the lithium-bearing deposit, and the thick intersections of lithium-rich tuff had consistently returned average grades of more than 0.7% lithium oxide.

Management is confident ongoing drilling will continue to build confidence in the deposit, noting that Falchani is expected to eventually grow into one of the largest near surface lithium deposits known. Drilling had also intersected weak uranium mineralisation at surface.

"These [results], along with the Peruvian government and local community support we are receiving and the simple processing option routes we are working on with ANSTO, are helping our efforts to make future Peruvian lithium production a reality," CEO Ted O'Connor said.

Conceptual design work has indicated that Falchani could be developed as a shallow, openpit mine from surface to about 250m depth, with a smaller than 1:1 strip ratio. Bench-scale metallurgical test work had also resulted in consistent 80%-90% lithium leaching, with simple warm acid leaching from this uncomplicated deposit believed to result in a cost-effective future operation.

Drilling continues at Falchani with three company-owned rigs, and the company plans to complete a maiden National Instrument 43-101-compliant lithium resource estimate by the end of June.

The project is in the prospective Chaccaconiza area of the Macusani Plateau of south-eastern Peru.

PLU has gained 80% in the past five years to C$1.15 a share early in the afternoon session on Monday. Year-to-date, the stock is up 44% - the bulk of the growth taking place in the current quarter, with the stock gaining 88.5% in the past month alone, to bring the company's market value to C$80 million.