Plateau Energy Metals (TSXV:PLU) Interim CEO Ian Stalker discussed the significant finding at the Falchani zone and the company’s future plans for the Macusani project in Peru.
In the interview below, Stalker addressed the company’s management team changes and how this will benefit Plateau, its projects and shareholders as the company adds lithium to its portfolio following significant discoveries at Falchani in 2017. He also outlined Plateau’s interest in drafting a PEA for the Macusani project.
Below is a transcript of our interview with Plateau Energy Metals Interim CEO Ian Stalker. It has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Investing News Network: Please provide a quick overview of Plateau Energy and the work it has been doing at the Macusani project.
Plateau Energy Metals Interim CEO Ian Stalker: We’ve been in Macusani since 2005. We discovered uranium on the property in 2005 and lithium later on in 2014 and 2015. Our breakthrough discovery date was at Falchani in October 2017.
INN: Are there any recent exploration highlights from the Falchani discovery that you would like to share?
IS: We found high grade uranium and some exciting lithium intersections at Falchani. With additional exploration, we’ve potentially identified a two by three kilometer anomaly and have drilled approximately 20 percent of that anomaly. Our drilling results will be included in our NI 43-101 resource which should be released by the end of the month.
INN: What is the significance of having included Falchani into the ongoing Environmental Baseline Study?
IS: We’ve been busy working on our NI 43-101 and we’ve also been working with the Australian National Technology and Scientific Organization (ANTSO) to determine how to extract lithium effectively in order to produce lithium carbonate. ANTSO is a leader in their space, and we have made sure that the companies we work with are high calibre. The environmental work that we’ve been doing recognizes the test work we’ve been conducting with ANTSO along with what we’ve been planning in general. Most importantly, acquiring a license for lithium is straightforward and broad as there is not a lot of legislation in place yet. The advice we’ve received from the appropriate authorities has allowed us to complete the required environmental work that we need for our environmental impact document, which we hope will be approved within the next year.
INN: What is next for the Macusani project and how does that fit into the company’s long-term plans?
IS: Along with completing our NI 43-101 and our test work with ANTSO, we’re looking to run financial modeling and complete a PEA with pre-feasibility considerations highlighted within the document. We’re hoping to have this completed by the end of the year to show the size of the project as well as the economic benefits it can offer.
INN: Please tell us about the recent changes to the company’s management team and board.
IS: Plateau Energy Metals has gone from a junior exploration company with a market cap of $20 million to one with a market cap of almost $100 million. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a ways to go. We’re operating in a marketplace that insists on having an experienced management team. Our team will allow us to capitalize on the growing demand in both the uranium and lithium markets. This will enable us to move the company and our projects forward so we can create value for our shareholders.
Plateau Energy has two great projects. The first is a lithium one, which is exciting because lithium is the word on everyone’s lips. It is needed for electric vehicles and for battery storage. It is a twenty-first century metal. This is followed closely by uranium, as the market is beginning to see a pulse again.
We are positioned to be a big player in both lithium and uranium. You get two shots at gold from one investment label. It’s a great time to be looking at Plateau Energy Metals.
The interview below was originally posted in April 2018. Please scroll up for our most recent interview with Plateau Energy Metals Chairman Ian Stalker.
Plateau Energy (TSXV:PLU) Chairman Ian Stalker believes that the company has a lot to offer in both the lithium and uranium spaces. Following the company’s discovery of the Falchani zone and its high-grade lithium occurrences, Plateau Energy has enhanced its focus from what used to be a pure uranium play.
In the interview below, Stalker discusses the value of Plateau Energy’s most recent discoveries and provides an overview of the work the company is planning for the upcoming months. This includes the development of NI 43-101 resource estimates for both the lithium and uranium at Falchani, building community relationships and conducting metallurgical test work.
Below is the video of our interview with Plateau Energy Chairman Ian Stalker. It is followed by a transcript that has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Investing News Network: Please describe the exploration work conducted on the project to date.
Plateau Energy Chairman Ian Stalker: We have been working in Falchani for approximately five months. We uncovered our discovery hole in late November, early December, and we had a really thick lithium intersection. Since that time, we have been working diligently on the ground despite adverse weather conditions, and we have now identified that the potential size of the resource is 1.7 kilometers in length and 1.2 kilometers in width. The last hole which we announced suggested that the thickness at this particular level can be over 150 meters.
What we have ended up with in the last few months is a tremendous opportunity in terms of the size of our lithium resource. I would further add that we have only explored around approximately 15 percent of the known ground where this lithium is held. We still have a lot more work to do, and the key behind that will be to push on with the drilling — three drills are now mobilized — and to end up with a NI 43-101 resource estimate by the middle of May of this year.
INN: What has been the impact of the new Falchani discovery?
IS: The high-grade lithium at Falchani is quite unique. We are running into these incredible thicknesses of over 150 meters, and the grade runs consistently at about 3,000 ppm to 3,400 ppm. Those numbers are quite incredible when you consider that the competitors in the lithium market, particularly those from Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, have average grades of about 500 ppm to 600 ppm. The spodumene — which come from the hard rock — run slightly higher, but are much narrower and harder to mine.
When you look at us, it is not just the grade that gives us the upside. It is also the ease with which we can mine our resource. It is an open-pittable mining opportunity, meaning that the cost per tonne delivered to the mill or process plant will be competitive when compared to what’s currently in the marketplace.
INN: What is next for the Macusani Plateau project?
IS: Our next step is to push on towards the NI 43-101 resource estimates for both our lithium and uranium resources. We must not forget that we began as a little uranium company. The two NI 43-101s for Falchani will be published in mid- to late May, and they will allow us to move forward with the engineering application.
Our metallurgical testing samples have already been sent to ANSTO in Sydney, Australia. ANSTO are world leaders when it comes to lithium extraction, precipitation and flowsheet development. With that, we’re not only awaiting the publication of our resource estimates, but also the ability to tell the market how straightforward our processing and treatment is of lithium ore.
INN: Is there anything about Plateau Energy as an investment opportunity that you would like to highlight?
IS: In terms of our company value, we are still trading at a C$45-million to C$50-million market cap. Comparable companies in the lithium space that have this kind of resource are trading significantly higher, at as much as four to five times that. Even on the uranium side, if we had no lithium, we would also be trading at a much higher valuation.
From an investment point of view, it is a great time to get behind the stock. There is plenty of upside and as the next catalysts come through — the drilling, the NI 43-101s, the metallurgical test work, the development with local communities — it is really an opportune time to get into Plateau Energy. Lastly, on the management side, from the CEO to the COO and our chairman, we have a great management team and I think we have the experience and knowledge to put it together.