Plateau Energy Metals Announces Maiden Mineral Resource Estimate for Falchani Lithium Deposit

TORONTO, July 24, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Plateau Energy Metals Inc. (“Plateau” “PLU” or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:PLU) (FRANKFURT:QG1) (OTCQB:PLUUF), a lithium and uranium exploration and development company, is pleased to announce a maiden Lithium Mineral Resource estimate for the Falchani Project located on the Macusani Plateau in the Puno District of southeastern Peru. The estimate was prepared by The Mineral Corporation of South Africa and the NI 43-101 Technical Report in support of the estimate will be filed on SEDAR within 45 days.

Also, the Company is pleased to provide clarity on Areas of Cultural and Archeological Significance in the vicinity of the project.

Highlights of Lithium Mineral Resource Estimates by Category

The consolidated Mineral Resource estimates, based on a 0.1% Li2O cut-off grade are as follows:

A. Within the Li-rich tuff sequence, only:

  • Indicated Mineral Resources: 34.82Mt at 0.73% Li2O containing 0.63Mt Li2CO3 (equivalent)
  • Inferred Mineral Resources: 77.80Mt at 0.73% Li2O containing 1.41Mt Li2CO3 (equivalent)

B. Within the wider Li-rich package including the upper and lower breccia units:

  • Indicated Mineral Resources: 40.58Mt at 0.67% Li2O containing 0.67Mt Li2CO3 (equivalent)
  • Inferred Mineral Resources: 121.70Mt at 0.59% Li2O containing 1.76Mt Li2CO3 (equivalent)
  • The footprint of the drilled, mapped and surface sampled Li-rich tuff unit extends up to 1,700 m (N-S) and 2,200 m (E-W)
  • The maiden resource estimate is based on drilling that covers an area of 1,250 m (N-S) and 350 to 500 m (E-W) representing approximately 20% of the potential deposit area.
  • The consistency of the Li grades over the wide intersections was highlighted by the Mineral Resource Consultant
  • Drilling continues at site to define additional Mineral Resources

Ian Stalker, Executive Chairman and Interim CEO of Plateau Energy Metals, commented: “To report our Maiden Lithium Mineral Resource estimate less than 9 months after our ‘discovery hole’ at Falchani is a wonderful achievement, and everyone associated with PLU can feel tremendously proud of this accomplishment.

The estimated size of the Mineral Resources is already significant and large but recognizing this only covers approximately 20% of the current known mineralization envelope PLU expects this resource to grow and grow quickly. Three drill rigs continue work at Falchani to expand out from the already defined resource footprint.

This result, and the earlier reported metallurgical work from ANSTO Laboratories in Sydney i.e. low cost open pit mining operations, simple atmospheric acid leaching of the lithium-rich tuff feed material followed by conventional lithium processing steps as envisioned, give us a great ‘kick -off’ point to demonstrate the viability of our project via the planned PEA.

We are cognizant of the need to fully comply with all environmental, archeological and community related issues as regulated in Peru and are working hand in hand with our highly respected Peruvian consultants to achieve this. To date our relationship with stakeholder groups has been excellent as evidenced by the ability to produce our maiden Resource over a very short time frame. At Falchani, the lithium mining potential is our target.

It is also important to note that adjacent to the Falchani properties, another mining company operating in the area of Chaccaconiza has just received its process plant construction permit.”

Dr Laurence Stefan, COO of Plateau Energy Metals, commented: “We have achieved great results, unprecedented I would say, in a very short interval of time. That wouldn’t have been possible without our talented team on site. The news that Peru will hopefully be a large player in the lithium business like their better known lithium producing neighbours, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia, has been well received by the Peruvian authorities at both the central government and local level. We continue to receive excellent support and assistance to grow the potential for future lithium and uranium production in Peru.”

Ted O’Connor, Director of Plateau Energy Metals, commented: “This large maiden resource estimate at Falchani is a significant milestone for the Company – and the resource drilling covers only 20% of the surface expression of the currently known Li-rich tuffs in outcrop. We believe that this lithium resource will continue to grow with further planned drilling.

I would like to personally thank our technical team, management, Board, local supportive communities and shareholders for this tremendous success. I would like to remind everyone that we have established this resource in less than 9 months of work from the initial discovery to now, persevering through difficult weather and drilling conditions.”

Mineral Resource Estimate Details
The Mineral Corporation has undertaken a Lithium Mineral Resource estimate for the Falchani Project.

Subhorizontal lithium mineralization occurs within a lithium-rich tuff, which varies in thickness from 50m to 140m, and in an upper and lower breccia unit, which occur in the immediate hangingwall and footwall of the tuff, respectively. The lithium-rich volcanic tuff unit, interpreted to be aqualain and the transitional Li-rich breccias are interpreted to have been deposited in a crater lake volcano-sedimentary environment.

The Mineral Resource estimates are based on 29 drillholes (Figure 1 – Falchani Drill Hole Location Map with Outcrop Samples). Sampling was carried out at sampling intervals of between 0.5m and 1.0m. Samples used throughout the estimation process were composited to a downhole length of 2.5m.

The Mineral Corporation undertook a site visit to the Falchani Project during May 2018 during which, outcrops of the tuff and breccia units were visited, and the drilling and sampling operations observed. In addition, The Mineral Corporation visited the Certimin laboratory in Lima, where all of the Lithium analyses for the Falchani Project have been undertaken.

The exploration and sampling protocols for Lithium at this project are well established, and have been published in previous NI 43 101 Technical reports. Certified reference materials (standards) were inserted for Lithium, and The Mineral Corporation requested that the Company undertake a re-sampling and analysis exercise on a set of randomly selected sample rejects. The results of the standards and the re-assays are considered acceptable for the reporting of Mineral Resource estimates.

The Lithium distribution within the tuffs and breccias has a prominent vertical zonation. The breccias are referred to as the Upper Breccia (UBX) and Lower Breccia (LBX) that are found above, and below the lithium-rich tuff unit, respectively. The tuff was sub-divided into three sub-units (LRT1, LRT2 and LRT3), based on Lithium, Cesium, Rubidium, Strontium and Barium contents, and the upper and lower bounding surfaces were constructed utilizing Datamine Strad3D modelling software, applying Inverse Distance (ID) interpolation of the zone thicknesses.

Within the zones, well structured horizontal variograms were obtained for Lithium abundance. Ordinary Kriging (OK) oriented sub-parallel to the mineralization surfaces was employed for the estimation of Lithium grades. Grades were estimated into a block model of 25m X 25m X 5m.

The geological and Lithium grade continuity within the units is very consistent. The Mineral Corporation has based the Mineral Resource classification on the geostatistical confidence of the Lithium estimates, supported by data quality and data spacing considerations.

The Mineral Corporation has assessed that there are ‘reasonable prospects of eventual economic extraction’ for the Lithium in these Mineral Resource estimates. This assessment is informed by the preliminary metallurgical testwork undertaken by the Company, supported by the broad economic assumptions for the mining and marketing of Lithium provided in the Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) of the Macusani Project, published by the Company in January 2016.

The Mineral Resource estimates are as follows:

 StratumTonnes (Mt)DensityLi (ppm)Li2O (%)Li2CO3 (%)Contained
Li2CO3 (Mt)
Total40.58 2.431040.671.650.67
StratumTonnes (Mt)DensityLi (ppm)Li2O (%)Li2CO3 (%)Li2CO3 (Mt)
Total121.70 2.427240.591.451.76
Minor discrepancies due to rounding may occur.
Cut-off 0.1% Li2O
Tonnes are Metric
Li Conversion Factors as follows: Li:Li2O=2.153; Li:Li2CO3=5.323; Li2O:Li2CO3=2.473

Metallurgical Testwork Details
The Company completed numerous Lithium leach tests on the Falchani Li-rich tuff unit with TECMMINE in Peru and at ANSTO Minerals in Australia using warm sulfuric acid at atmospheric conditions and achieved Lithium recoveries of up to 90% with low sulfuric acid consumption of approximately 150 kg.

ANSTO Minerals produced a preliminary acid leach flowsheet for the Falchani project using conventional downstream lithium processing steps. ANSTO produced battery grade lithium carbonate (LC) product with reported purity of 99.73% from the Primary LC precipitation stage, before final refining.

This primary LC product compares favourably with industry specifications for battery grade LC. Final refining is expected to remove any elements that are ‘near-spec’ limits (ex. Ca, K, Na, S).

Plateau Energy Metals is planning to complete a PEA for Falchani lithium production to establish production cost estimates for the project.

Clarification on Areas of Archeological Significance
The Company, and its predecessor companies, have been exploring continuously in the Macusani area since their initial land acquisition in 2005. All exploration activities are completed under fully approved social and exploration/mining permits, which remain in effect today.

The local Corani-Macusani Area of Cultural and Archeological Significance is very clearly defined and well-known to people working in the region. (See: Figure 2-PLU Project Location Map with Archeological Area of Interest)

More significant for the Company is that the new Falchani discovery area and lithium deposit lies outside of the Area of Cultural and Archeological Significance. Archeological studies completed as part of our exploration program permitting and recent Environmental Impact Assessment study work has shown that to date, there are no sites of cultural or archeological significance affecting Falchani. The local landscape, landforms, higher elevation and rock weathering style at Falchani was not conducive for hosting, or preservation of, sites of archeological significance.

The Company’s existing uranium deposits are located within the Area of Cultural and Archeological Significance, but are not directly affected by any such sites. The Company is working with highly respected and experienced environmental and archeological consultants, local communities and Peruvian authorities to develop a plan to protect any sites located in proximity to proposed future project infrastructure.

Qualified Persons
Mr. Stewart Nupen, B.Sc. (Hons), FGSSA, Pr Sci Nat (No 400174/07) of The Mineral Corporation, South Africa, an independent mining consulting firm to the Company, is a Qualified Person as defined under National Instrument 43-101, and has prepared or supervised the preparation of, or has reviewed and approved, the scientific and technical data pertaining to the Mineral Resource estimates contained in this release.
Mr. Ted O’Connor, P.Geo., a Director of Plateau Energy Metals, and a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects, has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information contained in this news release.

About The Mineral Corporation
The Mineral Corporation is based in Bryanston, Sandton (Johannesburg) South Africa and is a leading senior advisor to the international minerals business offering a broad range of services related to mineral exploration, mine development, and mine optimization across a diverse range of commodities and geographies. The Mineral Corporation has been working with the Company, and its predecessors for over six years.

Quality Assurance, Quality Control and Data Verification
Drill core samples are cut longitudinally with a diamond saw with one-half of the core placed in sealed bags and shipped to Certimin’s sample analytical laboratory in Lima for sample preparation, processing and ICP-MS/OES multi-element analysis. Certimin is an ISO 9000 certified assay laboratory. The Company’s Qualified Person for the drill programme, Mr. Ted O’Connor, has verified the data disclosed, including drill core, sampling and analytical data in the field and lab. The program is designed to include a comprehensive analytical quality assurance and control routine comprising the systematic use of Company inserted standards, blanks and field duplicate samples, internal laboratory standards and has also included check analyses at other accredited laboratories.

For further information, please contact: 
Plateau Energy Metals Inc.
Ted O’Connor, Director

About Plateau Energy Metals
Plateau Energy Metals Inc. is a Canadian lithium and uranium exploration and development company focused on its properties on the Macusani Plateau in southeastern Peru. The Company controls all reported uranium resources known in Peru, significant and growing lithium resources and mineral concessions covering over 91,000 hectares (910 km2) situated near significant infrastructure. Plateau Energy Metals is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol 'PLU', quoted on the OTCQB under the symbol “PLUUF” and the Frankfurt Exchange under the symbol 'QG1'. The Company has 70,938,494 shares issued and outstanding.

Forward Looking Information
This news release includes certain forward-looking statements concerning possible expected results of exploration and future exploration and development activities. Forward-looking statements are frequently identified by such words as "may", "will", "plan", "expect", "anticipate", "estimate", "intend" and similar words referring to future events and results. Forward-looking statements are based on the current opinions and expectations of management. All forward-looking information is inherently uncertain and subject to a variety of assumptions, risks and uncertainties, including risks and uncertainties relating to the estimation and/or realization of mineral resources; success of exploration activities; the interpretation of drill results, the geology, grade and continuity of mineral deposits; the possibility that any future exploration, development or mining results will not be consistent with our expectations; mining and development risks, including risks related to accidents, equipment breakdowns, labour disputes (including work stoppages and strikes) or other unanticipated difficulties with or interruptions in exploration and development; the potential for delays in exploration or development activities; risks related to commodity price and foreign exchange rate fluctuations; risks related to foreign operations; the cyclical nature of the industry in which we operate; risks related to failure to obtain adequate financing on a timely basis and on acceptable terms or delays in obtaining governmental approvals; risks related to environmental regulation and liability; political and regulatory risks associated with mining and exploration; risks related to the certainty of title to our properties; risks related to the uncertain global economic environment; and other risks and uncertainties related to our prospects, properties and business strategy, as described in more detail in Plateau Energy Metals’ recent securities filings available at Actual events or results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements and Plateau cautions against placing undue reliance thereon. Neither Plateau nor its management assume any obligation to revise or update these forward-looking statements.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.