"We have a lot of Peruvian expertise to advance what we think are first-rate projects that will help put Peru on the map for energy metals and clean energy."
What prompted American Lithium to acquire Plateau Energy Metals in 2021?
We had looked at a number of assets throughout the Americas, including Plateau Energy Metals’ Falchani project. Plateau was hit with a double whammy during the downturn in the lithium space over the last few years, which coincided with some legal issues they had relating to some of their concessions. We started talking to them in December 2020, and realized the deal made a lot of sense with a strong fit between the companies. American Lithium has a strong supportive shareholder base, and Plateau had a somewhat fatigued shareholder base, and had not had the capital needed to advance their development stage projects over the last couple of years. Both Falchani and Macusani are at advanced PEA stage and the Plateau team has already produced battery grade lithium from Falchani. With better access to capital, we believe these assets can move quickly through the development phase and create significant value for all stakeholders. In addition, Plateau has a very strong technical team, which will help round out our team and bring more expertise in-house. Falchani is a volcanic tuff with different geology to TLC, but it is also near-surface and shares similarities with a lot of the flowsheet work we are doing in Nevada which will be directly relevant.
How will the transition from Plateau to American Lithium work from an operational standpoint in Peru?
One of the key attributes of the acquisition is that we are able to bolt on a very strong Peru-based team. At Falchani we will shortly be drilling to further expand the existing resource and moving inferred resources to measured and indicated. Recent work has also identified at least two other key target areas to the west of the Falchani deposit that have the potential to be similar in size and scope to Falchani. We will also be launching exploration drilling in these areas over the next several weeks. Work done in 2021 at Falchani will help us position the project to move into the feasibility process in the first half of 2022.
What are your plans for the Macusani uranium project?
Although we are not uranium specialists, we see a lot of potential at Macusani. Uranium is being more and more accepted as a key energy metal and Macusani is the fifth largest undeveloped uranium project on the planet. There is also scope to add additional resources through further expansion drilling at Macusani, which we plan to do near-term. Macusani has seen a significant amount of work and investment historically and had a C$120 million market capitalization when it was the stand-alone asset in the company back in 2008/9. We have already had a lot of third party interest in this asset, which is strong validation of its current value and long-term potential. Long term we may not be the ones to move Macusani into production, but we want to do more work on it, continue its development and continue to grow its value to the benefit of the company and all stakeholders.
Do you have a final message for the Peruvian mining community about American Lithium’s commitment to develop the Falchani project?
We are fully aware of the need to bring jobs to communities and develop projects in a sustainable manner, even more so in a post Covid world, and this is a key part of the corporate culture at American Lithium and was also the culture at Plateau Energy Metals. All our projects are being developed with a focus on implementing the best environmental practices and utilizing local expertise and workforces to the full extent possible. Peru has a very strong mining sector, and we are fortunate to have a lot of Peruvian expertise in the company to help advance what we think are first-rate projects which we believe will help put Peru on the map in the area of energy metals and clean energy. Peru remains significantly underexplored and we are fully committed to the country, its people, and helping to develop this potential in the years to come for the benefit of all stakeholders.