LIMA – Canadian miner Plateau Energy Metals' Peru unit Macusani Yellowcake said on Monday it has found 2.5-million tonnes of high-grade lithium resources and 124-million pounds of uranium resources in its Falchani hard rock deposit in the region of Puno.
Ulises Solis, general manager of the unit, told a news conference that it was unclear how much of the lithium resources would eventually end up being classified as economically viable reserves.
Solis said a feasibility study would reveal that next year, and that a proposed $800-million, underground lithium-uranium mine could be built within a year to start production in 2020.
The announcement is the latest in a flurry of plans to expand or build new lithium mines amid forecasts for massive demand from the electric vehicle industry, which uses lithium in car batteries.
Plateau has drilled 3 000 m or about 15% of the surface of its exploratory concessions in Puno, which are located at an altitude of about 4 500 m in the Andes, Macusani said in a statement.
It plans to drill another 10 000 m by early next year, Laurence Stefan, Plateau's chief operating officer, said at the press conference.
Plateau headquarters did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The company is working with the government to develop clear rules for mining radioactive materials that are still lacking in Peru, Solis said.