25/08/2021 - 15:15

Element 25 eyes battery-grade manganese production

25/08/2021 - 15:15

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Element 25 has completed its ramp up to Stage 1 production levels at the company’s flagship Butcherbird manganese mining operation in Western Australia. The company says the mine has now achieved a “steady state” of manganese output and is looking to manufacture a high-purity manganese sulphate monohydrate product for use in the burgeoning lithium-ion battery market.

Beneficiated direct shipping manganese ore from Element 25’s Butcherbird operation in Western Australia. Credit: File

Element 25 has completed its ramp up to Stage 1 production levels at the company’s flagship Butcherbird manganese mining operation in Western Australia. The company says the mine has now achieved a “steady state” of manganese output and is looking to manufacture a high-purity manganese sulphate monohydrate, or “HPMSM” product for use in the burgeoning lithium-ion battery market.

Butcherbird has ramped up to its Stage 1 capacity of around one million tonnes per annum of direct shipping ore. Going forward, Element 25’s original feasibility studies indicate that a move to two or three million tonnes per annum, as part of the Stage 2 expansion program, should be a relatively straightforward task.

The potential expansion of the operation would be facilitated by the cost-effective and modular nature of the processing plant together with the massive underlying resource, which tips the scales at an impressive 263 million tonnes grading more than 10 per cent manganese oxide.

Whilst the expansion of the operation looks like a foregone conclusion, Element 25 appears to have its eye on a richer prize and has begun to develop a process flow sheet for the manufacture of a HPMSM product, which will add significant value to the company’s high purity ores.

Element 25 Managing Director Justin Brown said:The resumption of the flowsheet optimisation test programme is a critical component of finalising the battery grade manganese sulphate Pre-Feasibility Study which is scheduled for completion in 2021.”

“This work also importantly confirms the suitability of the concentrate produced from the Stage 1 beneficiation circuit for conversion to HPMSM and the market can now expect regular updates from this work stream.”

The company is looking at utilising a portion of its low impurity, manganese concentrate produced from the Butcherbird operation to feed a simple leach plant that will then punch out the HPMSM product.

Metallurgical test work on the beneficiated DSO manganese product indicates that by using a sulphuric acid leaching process, at ambient atmospheric temperatures and pressures, the company can achieve over 97 per cent recovery of manganese into a sulphate product. Even more encouraging are the short residence period for the process, with the bulk of the metal being extracted within 15 minutes of being introduced to the acid.

The company is now expediting its feasibility study for the production of HPMSM powders as it looks to become the world’s first “zero carbon manganese” manufacturer to provide a product for use in the burgeoning lithium-ion battery market.

With an expansion of manganese mining and beneficiation at Butcherbird in its sights and a proposal  for downstream HPMSM processing in the wings, Element 25 looks to have all guns blazing as it carves out an exclusive niche in the global manganese space and breaks into growing battery metals market.

 

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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