Manganese producer, Element 25 has scored an eight-year “innovation patent” for its cutting-edge extraction technology used to separate manganese from concentrate produced at its 100 per cent owned Butcherbird mining and beneficiation operation north of Meekatharra in WA. The company is looking to manufacture a high-purity manganese sulphate monohydrate product for use in the thriving lithium-ion battery industry.
Manganese producer, Element 25 has scored an eight-year “innovation patent” for its cutting-edge extraction technology used to separate manganese from concentrate produced at its 100 per cent owned Butcherbird mining and beneficiation operation north of Meekatharra in Western Australia. The company is looking to manufacture a high-purity manganese sulphate monohydrate, or “HPMSM” product for use in the thriving lithium-ion battery industry.
Element 25 has tabled a multi-staged strategy for unravelling the full value of its “world class” Butcherbird project that already hosts an impressive 263 million tonne resource going more than 10 per cent manganese oxide.
A pre-feasibility study that evaluated the economics of Butcherbird was released late last year. It showed $39.6 million a year in pre-tax free cash flows for the first five years of manganese concentrate production under a proposed first stage of the operation.
The study envisaged annual production and sale of about 364,000 tonnes of lump manganese ore per annum for the five-year period, with produced manganese concentrate grading between 30 per cent and 35 per cent.
The company has wasted little time in bringing the project to life with the first two shipments of manganese concentrate from Butcherbird recently setting sail for its offtake partner’s smelter in China.
Element 25 is eyeing an expansion of the concentrate business as part of “stage two” of its strategy that could see either a doubling or trebling of plant throughput at Butcherbird, according to the company.
However, a subsequent “stage three” development to convert concentrate material into HPMSM for use in electric vehicle batteries could take the company’s operation at Butcherbird to an even higher level.
The newly granted patent covers Element 25’s rapid atmospheric manganese extraction flowsheet where leaching of Butcherbird ore generates a manganese sulphate solution that is then processed to produce battery-grade HPMSM.
Management says recent metallurgical test work on the innovative process returned high extraction rates of more than 97 per cent recovery of manganese into a sulphate product. Importantly, the bulk of the extraction reportedly occurred within a swift 15 minutes of the reaction.
Element 25 believes manganese could play a starring role in cathode production for electric vehicle batteries due to the metal’s affordability and abundance when compared with alternate nickel and cobalt cathode minerals.
Recent research by multinational investment bank, Morgan Stanley, concluded that global sales of electric vehicles is set to surge by nearly 40 per cent by the end of the decade.
Element 25 says manganese is ideally suited to generate the material needed to satisfy the world’s hunger to electrify transport.
German vehicle manufacturing powerhouse, Volkswagen, has already tabled plans to shift to manganese cathodes for most of its electric vehicle batteries as it looks to lower production costs.
Element 25 is targeting the manganese cathode market as part of its longer-term growth strategy and the newly granted patent appears to put it in good stead to capitalise on the electric vehicle revolution that is showing no signs of abating.
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