July 16, 2018 / 8:25 PM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Plateau Energy Metals Peru unit finds large lithium resources

(Adds comments from company officials)

LIMA, July 16 (Reuters) - Canadian miner Plateau Energy Metals Inc’s Peru unit Macusani Yellowcake S.A.C. 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 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 meters or about 15 percent of the surface of its exploratory concessions in Puno, which are located at an altitude of about 4,500 meters in the Andes, Macusani said in a statement.

It plans to drill another 10,000 meters 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. (Reporting By Marco Aquino)

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