The Falchani Lithium Project is located in the Puno district of south-eastern Peru. (Credit: American Lithium Corp.)
The lithium project is expected to have a mine life of 26 years. (Credit: Dnn87/
Falchani will produce battery grade lithium carbonate. (Credit: Alpha Photo/ Flickr)

Falchani Lithium Project is an advanced-stage hard-rock lithium deposit located in the Carabaya Province, Puno District of south-eastern Peru.

The project is owned by American Lithium, a Canadian company focused on the development of large-scale lithium projects in the Americas.

A Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for the project was filed in March 2020.

The lithium project is expected to have a mine life of 26 years (Base Case: 33 years). It is expected to produce 23,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) from Year 1 to Year 7, and 41,000tpa of Li2CO3 from Year 8 to Year 26.

According to the report, the total capital cost over the life of mine (LoM) is estimated to be $1.97bn inclusive of mine rehabilitation and closure.

American Lithium began works to update the existing PEA for Falchani in the second half of 2022. The move represents the first step towards completing a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) of the project.

Falchani project location details

Falchani project is situated on the Macusani Plateau in the Carabaya Province of Puno District of south-eastern Peru, in the Andes Mountains.

The site is around 650km east southeast of Lima and 25km from the town of Macusani.

Ownership history

Vena Resources was one of the early explorers on the Macusani Plateau. It acquired seven concessions in the region and additional concessions in other areas in Peru to explore uranium.

In 2006, it started scintillometer prospecting, radon, and surface outcrop mapping over various Instituto Peruano de Energia Nuclear (IPEN) uranium showings.

Macusani Yellowcake started exploring the area in 2007. In the same year, Cameco Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cameco Global Exploration Limited, entered into a joint venture with Vena which resulted in the formation of Minergia.

Azincourt Uranium entered into a definitive share purchase agreement with Minergia in November 2013 to acquire full ownership of the resource-stage Macusani and other exploration objects.

In September 2014, Azincourt and Macusani Yellowcake completed the acquisition of Macusani of Azincourt’s adjacent uranium properties on the Macusani Plateau.

Later, Macusani Yellowcake acquired Minergia, and in April 2015 changed its name to Plateau Uranium.

Plateau Uranium again rebranded itself as Plateau Energy Metals in March 2018. The company was acquired by American Lithium in May 2021.

Geology, Mineralisation and Mineral Resource Estimate

The geology of the project area is comprised of late Tertiary tuffs, ignimbrites, and associated sediments preserved in a northwest-southeast trending graben.

Most of the Mesozoic and Tertiary cover underwent erosion before the deposition of pyroclastics, which got deposited directly on the Palaeozoic rocks including Late Palaeozoic intrusives (Hercynian granites) and extrusives (Mitu volcanics).

The youngest rocks that were found near the boreholes drilled at Falchani are called Upper Rhyolite.

Below the Upper Rhyolite is the Upper Breccia, separating the Upper Rhyolite from the Lithium-rich Tuff.

The Upper Breccia, Lithium-rich Tuff, and Lower Breccia show consistent vertical zonation of lithium, caesium, strontium, and other elements. Lithium is mostly concentrated at the top and bottom of the Lithium-rich Tuff.

In March 2019, American Lithium released an updated resource estimate for Falchani mine. The indicated mineral resource estimate for the project is 60.92Mt containing 0.96Mt lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE).

The inferred mineral resources for the project is 260.07Mt with 3.75Mt of Li2CO3.

Mining and Ore Processing at Falchani Project

The Falchani lithium project is expected to employ open pit mining using conventional truck and shovel mining methods.

The mining will undertake drilling followed by blasting to break the rock mass into manageable particle sizes.

A sulphur-burning acid plant will be built in Phase I to produce around 1,500 tonnes per day of sulphuric acid on average. The sulphuric acid will be used as the leaching reagent.

The plant also includes a renewable power generating facility that will produce approximately 18MW of energy from the steam generated in the sulphur burner.

After mining, mineralised material will be crushed to a P80 of 150μm. It will be followed by a warm (95 °C) sulphuric acid tank leach with a residence time of 24 hours to extract around 89% of lithium to leach solution.

This process will use conventional up-front tank leaching followed by a three-stage purification process for reducing impurities in the leach solution, mechanical evaporation, and conventional precipitation using a crystallisation plant to produce a battery-grade Li2CO3.


The infrastructure of the project includes access roads; raw water supply from river sources; general site services; buildings; tailings transportation and storage; power transmission lines and sub-stations; as well as emergency power supply arrangement.

Contractors involved

DRA Pacific, a subsidiary of engineering services company DRA Global, prepared the PEA of the Falchani Lithium Project.

Earlier PEA contributions from Wardell Armstrong, The Mineral Corporation (TMC), and other consultants, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) were also taken into consideration to prepare a technical study assessing the proposed mining operations.

Vice Versa Consulting conducted a study to assess potential access road options.

American Lithium commenced an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) hydrology drilling programme in August 2022. It was designed by SRK Peru and EDASI SAC.

In March 2023, DRA Global was again appointed by American Lithium as lead engineer to coordinate the completion of a Pre-Feasibility Study on the project. The contract to prepare an updated mineral resource estimate on Falchani was awarded to Stantec Consulting.