Search Results for "Gabon"

BHK Mining Begins Exploration at Ndjole Manganese/Gold Licence in Gabon

BHK Mining Corp. (TSXV:BHK) announced that it has began exploration work at its 2,000 square kilometer Ndjole manganese/gold project in Gabon.

As quoted in the press release:

The Company utilizes a rapid exploration method, using auger drills combined with a handheld XRF unit for accelerated follow-up and semi-quantitative geochemical analysis of the weathered rock material below manganese soil anomalies. At the time of this report a total of 232 auger holes have been drilled and a total of 991 samples collected (See www.bhkminingcorp.com for location maps).

Analysis with the handheld XRF is currently underway and a total of 534 samples including standards and duplicates have been analyzed to date. Handheld XRF is a method that is used to produce reliable manganese analyses. Pits have been excavated at the site of two of the stronger manganese auger results to expose the mineralization in three dimensions.

The auger drill program is designed to test the weathered rock (saprolite) below scree, ferricrete and laterite, which covers much of the target area. The auger drills are capable of drilling to a depth of approximately 10 metres under favourable conditions. The aim of the rapid auger drill program is to produce bedrock manganese targets for subsequent diamond drilling.

Click here to read the full BHK Mining Corp. (TSXV:BHK) press release.


Silver Bull Sells Gabon Asset to BHK Mining

Silver Bull Resources Inc. (TSX:SVB,NYSEMKT:SVBL) announced that BHK Mining Corp. now officially owns Dome International Global Inc., its subsidiary. Dome indirectly holds a 100-percent interest in the Gabon-based Ndjole manganese-gold project.

As quoted in the press release:

Pursuant to the Transaction, BHK acquired all of the issued and outstanding securities of Dome from a wholly-owned subsidiary of Silver Bull for the purchase price of USD$1,500,000, payable in cash, of which USD$25,000 was previously paid as a non-refundable deposit. In addition, BHK reimbursed Silver Bull USD$75,000 for certain expenses related to the completion of the Transaction. Upon completion of the Transaction, Dome became a wholly-owned subsidiary of BHK. In connection with the Transaction, BHK changed its name from BHK Resources Inc. to BHK Mining Corp.

Tim Barry, president and CEO of Silver Bull, commented:

We are very pleased to close the sale of the Project to BHK and we wish them well in their future endeavors in Gabon. Silver Bull remains fully focused on advancing its flagship Sierra Mojada silver-zinc project in Coahuila, Mexico, and the sale of the Ndjole property provides Silver Bull with an additional USD$1.5 million in non-dilutive capital in what remains a very difficult capital markets environment.

Click here to read the full Silver Bull Resources Inc. (TSX:SVB,NYSEMKT:SVBL) press release.


BHP Halts Mining Investment in Gabon

Reuters reported that BHP has put the brakes on mining investment in Gabon, much to the dismay of the government, who had been banking on large-scale iron and manganese projects.

As quoted in the market report:

We respect the decision by BHP to freeze its activities in Gabon,” said a senior official at the mining ministry who asked not to be identified. “At the same time this is a blow to the country, which hoped to become the world’s largest exporter of manganese.

To view the whole Reuters report, click here. 


Ferrex Receives Exploration License in Gabon

Mining Weekly reported that Ferrex has received an exploration lisence in Gabon.

As quoted in the market report:

The company’s other development assets in Africa included the Nayega manganese project, in Togo, which was at the definitive feasibility stage, and the Malelane iron-ore project, in South Africa, where a scoping study has been completed.

To view the full Mining Weekly report, click here.


Gabon Aims to be the World’s Leading Manganese Producer

Gabon Aims to be the World’s Leading Manganese Producer

Gabon is the world’s second-largest producer of manganese, behind South Africa. In 2011, the country churned out 3.5 million metric tons of the metal.

The tiny country, located on the west coast of Africa, is home to just 1.5 million people, but it boasts significant mineral wealth. The US Energy Information Administration estimates that Gabon has 2 billion barrels worth of oil reserves. At one point, the country was the third-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa. It has since fallen to sixth place as oil producers have exhausted fields without finding new production to take their place. However, a national oil firm, Gabon Oil Company, was recently founded to increase the country’s output.

Gabon is also focusing on diversifying away from oil. For example, it’s currently evaluating its Belinga iron ore deposit with the goal of outlining a resource. A concession is expected to be awarded in 2014, and BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP,ASX:BHP,LSE:BLT) is thought to be a leading candidate. Gabon also aims to boost production of its other resources, including diamonds, gold, silver and rare earth elements.

“Gabon presents huge advantages to attract and secure foreign direct investment, including political stability, support sectors like banking, telecoms and energy, and established infrastructure,” mines minister Regis Immongault recently told Mining Weekly.

But despite that relative stability, operating in Gabon does entail some risks. For example, skilled labor is hard to find, wages are higher than in many African nations and infrastructure is still inadequate. The country is also in the process of updating its mining code, which could introduce new taxes on mining firms.

Gabon has South Africa in its sights

Which brings us back to manganese, a sector in which the tiny country has big ambitions. By 2015, it aims to boost its production of the metal, which is used to strengthen steel, to 5.7 million MT a year from a forecast 3.7 million MT in 2012. That would put it ahead of South Africa, which is currently the leading producer.

France’s ERAMET (EPA:ERA) jointly owns Comilog, the world’s second-largest manganese producer, with the Gabonese government. Comilog operates the Moanda mine in the country’s southeast. In November 2005, Comilog obtained a 30-year concession for a railway line that it uses to ship manganese to the port of Owendo. That has allowed the company to ramp up the mine’s production capacity to 3.5 million MT per year.

As well, Comilog is currently working on a manganese processing plant in the country that could produce 85,000 MT a day starting in 2014.

Another potential boost in manganese output could come from a new project by BHP Billiton. The company hasn’t officially commented on this possibility, but in April, Immongault said many aspects of an agreement between the government and the company have been decided upon, and that BHP is considering a mine capable of producing 300,000 MT per year, with a resource large enough to support a mine life of roughly 50 years. This project would be located about 10 kilometers from the town of Franceville.

Vancouver-based junior has high hopes for its Gabonese properties

One junior miner with significant holdings in Gabon is Vancouver-based Silver Bull Resources (AMEX:SVBL,TSX:SVB). The company is mainly focused on its Sierra Mojada silver-zinc project in Mexico, but it also owns the Mitzic iron ore property, located about 180 kilometers northeast of Libreville, the capital city of Gabon, and the 2,000-square-kilometer Ndjole manganese/gold project, located 120 kilometers east of Libreville. Silver Bull recently renewed its licenses for these properties for another three years.

The company recently released the results of its latest drilling at Ndjole, which it has conducted over the past two years. The program included 5,300 meters of diamond drilling, an airborne electromagnetic survey, geological mapping and basin analysis and 20,000 soil samples.

Silver Bull said that three of its drill holes at the northern end of the property intercepted thick manganese mineralization. Highlights include hole NDDD0002, which intercepted 22-percent manganese over 34.5 meters from the surface, including 42 percent over 5 meters, or 33.7 percent over 9 meters from the surface. In addition, the soil samples indicate an anomaly of more than 500 parts per million of manganese in an area of more than 50 square kilometers that remains open to the south and west.

“Within the Ndjole license, we have a huge manganese soil anomaly over 50 square kilometers in area with three near surface high grade drill holes at the very northern end of the anomaly,” said Silver Bull’s president and CEO, Tim Barry, in a press release. “When you consider over 90% of the anomaly still needs to be drilled, coupled with the fact that it sits in the same suite of rocks 25km away from a manganese mine that has just gone into production, and that it lies less than 25 kilometers from a functioning railway, we consider this to be an exciting target that now only needs to be tested with drilling.”

 

Securities Disclosure: I, Chad Fraser, hold no positions in any of the companies mentioned in this article.


Gabon’s Manganese Output Set to Increase to 5.7-million tons by 2015

Mining Weekly reported that manganese production is going to ramp up in Gabon.

As quoted in the market report:

Immongault said Gabon also planned to increase its manganese production to 5.7-million tons by 2015 from around 3.7-million tons currently, driven by a ramp-up in production from Eramet’s Compagnie Miniere de l’Ogooue (Comilog) and other smaller projects.

To view the whole Mining Weekly report, click here.


Silver Bull Intersects Thick, Near-Surface Manganese in Gabon

Silver Bull Resources Inc. (TSX:SVB,NYSE:SVBL) announced that the work completed at its Ndjole license over the past two years includes the drilling of three holes that intersect thick, near-surface manganese mineralization.

According to the press release, drilling highlights include:

  • NDDD0002: 22% Mn over 34.5m from 0m; including 42% over 5m or 33.7% over 9m from surface.
  • NDDD0001: +11% Mn over 17m from 33m (detection limit for manganese for analysis is 11% – not analyzed for ore grade manganese)
  • NDDD0018: +11% Mn over 7m from 20m (detection limit for manganese for analysis is 11% – not analyzed for ore grade manganese)
Silver Bull’s president and CEO, Tim Barry, commented:
Within the Ndjole license, we have a huge manganese soil anomaly over 50 square kilometers in area with three near surface high grade drill holes at the very northern end of the anomaly. When you consider over 90% of the anomaly still needs to be drilled, coupled with the fact that it sits in the same suite of rocks 25km away from a manganese mine that has just gone into production, and that it lies less than 25 kilometers from a functioning railway, we consider this to be an exciting target that now only needs to be tested with drilling.

Click here to read the full Silver Bull Resources Inc. (TSX:SVB,NYSE:SVBL) press release.


BHP Billiton to Develop Manganese Mine in Gabon

Mining Weekly reported that according to Gabon’s Mines Minister, BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP,LSE:BLT) will meet with the government of Gabon on April 16 to finalize a convention for the development of a manganese mine.

As quoted in the market news:

[The Mines Minister] noted that while much of the convention had already been decided upon, the parties still had to confirm the use of railway capacity for the project.

A spokesperson for BHP Billiton said on Tuesday that the company was unable to comment at this stage, but added that the project was at an advanced stage of feasibility.

The company previously reported that the Gabon mine would be a 300 000 t/y operation, with a resource to support an estimated 50-year life-of-mine.

Click here to read the full Mining Weekly report.


Metalline Appoints Country Manager in Gabon

Metalline Mining Company (TSX:MMZ,AMEX:MMG) announced the appointment of Mr. Luc Stevenin as Country Manager for Gabon in Central West Africa.

The press release is quoted as saying:

Metalline, through its 100% owned subsidiary, Dome Venture’s SARL Gabon owns three 2,000 square kilometer licences inGabon that are highly prospective for gold, manganese, and iron ore.

To read the full press release, click here.


Manganese: Critical Metal for Battery and Electric Vehicle Markets

After the end of the World War II, the US prudently built up a reserve of metals it deemed “strategic” in the not-unlikely event that the nation could again be called on to defend its allies in war.

American leadership saw how Germany practically starved Britain with submarine attacks on British and Allied shipping vessels. On the other hand, the US managed to break the back of the Japanese economy by sinking over 90 percent of the Japanese merchant fleet. Both of these events show how cutting a country’s supply lines (including critical metals) in times of war can devastate a war-time economy.

During the Cold War of the 1950s to the end of the 1980s, the US was constantly worried about a war with the Soviet Union, so it kept a “strategic stockpile” of metals that could be pressed into military applications should the need arise. The metals included indium, chromium, cobalt, diamonds and molybdenum. In 1987, the US added manganese to the stockpile. The reason? Manganese is essential to the production of steel; as a steel alloy, there is no substitute for it. For every tonne of iron, 10 to 20 pounds of electrolytic manganese metal (EMM) must be added, making it the fourth-most-traded metal in the world. Only aluminum, iron ore and copper are more widely used.

Since the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the US government has sold off its strategic stockpile, making the country vulnerable to foreign metal producers such as China, which produces 90 percent of the rare earths used in smartphones, green energy applications and missile-guidance systems, to name just three examples. Along with rare earths and many others, manganese is long gone from the stockpile.

The US has no manganese reserves and no producing mines, a situation echoed in most industrialized countries, including those in Europe. According to the US Geological Survey, manganese ore containing 20 percent or more manganese has not been produced in the US or Canada since 1970.

All the high-grade (>20 percent) manganese ore was mined out, leaving just the low-grade material that is too expensive to mine considering the lower-cost and easier alternative, which is to import it. It’s estimated that the US needs about 1.1 billion pounds of manganese a year, almost all of which is consumed by the steel industry.

Rising steel demand

Despite the ups and downs of the global steel industry, the International Manganese Institute predicts the steel industry will continue to grow at 2 percent annually; the US is expected to produce 4.4 percent more steel this year, in line with President Donald Trump’s focus on infrastructure spending. Growth in steelmaking puts an even brighter spotlight on manganese as a critical metal — defined as a metal that is essential to the economy and has a significant risk of supply interruptions. If one or more of the nations that supply manganese to the US suddenly stop shipping it, the implications for steelmaking could be dire.

Emerging battery technologies

While the US currently imports manganese from major producers South Africa, Australia, China and Gabon, more recent applications for manganese are making it even more critical — especially the battery industry, where manganese is used to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and for other renewable energy applications such as electricity grid storage (e.g. Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) Powerwall batteries).

Indeed, manganese is a critical link in the lithium-ion battery supply chain that is driving the adoption of EVs. According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, energy storage is “the last vital piece” needed to wean the global economy off fossil fuels and enable widespread adoption of EVs and renewable energy.

The market for manganese in North America has huge potential considering the lack of domestically mined manganese and the growing popularity of EVs that run on batteries made from lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese. Manganese is increasingly being seen as a leading-edge metal for battery production.

This INNspired Article is brought to you by:

Manganese X Energy Corp. (TSXV:MN) is a Canadian based company focused on acquiring and advancing North American resource projects with the potential to supply ethically-sourced value added materials to the lithium-ion battery and renewable energy technology markets.Send me an Investor Kit

Electrolytic manganese dioxide (EMD) is an upgraded form of manganese that is a key ingredient of lithium-ion, alkaline and zinc-manganese batteries. The US is the world’s largest consumer of EMD and China supplies 97 percent of it.

Tesla currently uses nickel-cobalt-aluminum (NCA) batteries for the EVs at its gigafactory in Nevada, but new batteries made from nickel, manganese and cobalt (NMC) have lower raw materials costs, a reduced charging time and a longer lifespan. Manganese sells for less than a dollar a pound versus around $14 per pound for cobalt, allowing for a much cheaper battery, which in a Tesla accounts for half the price of the vehicle. Cobalt also has an unstable supply chain, with few mines producing pure cobalt.

The company may soon be switching to magnesium-based batteries, having signed a five-year partnership with Dr. Jeff Dahn of Dalhousie University, a prominent NMC battery researcher who has been tasked with reducing battery costs for Tesla.

Other large purchasers of new battery technology are shifting to NMC batteries, including 3M (NYSE:MMM), BMW (ETR:BMW), General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) and Duracell.

Manganese is also used in nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries used in hybrid vehicles, including the Toyota Prius, and in up-and-coming lithiated manganese dioxide (LMD) batteries. Comprised of 61 percent manganese and 4 percent lithium, LMD batteries are said to have higher power output and better thermal stability, and are safer than regular lithium-ion batteries. They are currently employed in the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf EVs.

Solar and EV growth

Manganese is also used in animal feed and fertilizers — two sectors that continue to grow with the increase in world population — and in solar panels. In solar power, the use of manganese atoms increases the electric current produced by a solar cell by 300 percent, according to the US Department of Energy.

The solar panel industry is growing by around 50 percent a year, while EV sales jumped by about 60 percent in 2016. Although the global market for pure EVs is still small, about 1 percent of all vehicles, it is quickly advancing. EV-Volumes.com says that global sales of plug-in vehicles — both EVs and hybrids — rose 40 percent from January to March 2017. If that growth rate continues, by 2030 eight out of 10 vehicles will be plug ins. One stunning indication of how mainstream EVs have become: Volvo recently announced that it will only install electric or hybrid motors in all its vehicles from 2019 forward.

Importance to investors

Like any commodity, the price of manganese is determined by the intersection of supply and demand. As the above-mentioned manganese applications demonstrate, demand for the metal is strong, and likely to get stronger as its importance as a battery metal continues to grow. On the supply side, the world is actually producing less manganese despite all its burgeoning uses. US Geological Survey data shows that 8.6 percent less manganese was produced in 2016 compared to 2015. This supply-demand imbalance is an important reason why manganese prices have risen over 42 percent since 2016. With estimated demand for manganese expected to reach 28.2 million tonnes by 2022, and supply having reached a peak of 18 million tonnes in 2014, the widening gap is likely to produce healthy price appreciation over the next few years.

The takeaway for investors? Watch for companies with the potential to tap into those gains, with projects that can produce battery-grade manganese. Those companies that can feed into a supply chain for EVs such as the Tesla gigafactory in Nevada are even better positioned for growth and shareholder gains.

This INNspired article is sponsored by Manganese X Energy (TSXV:MN). This article was written according to INN Editorial standards to educate investors.


Manganese Reserves by Country

Manganese investors are often interested to hear which countries produce the most of the metal. After all, if a nation is producing a lot of manganese, many companies are likely operating there — and investment opportunities may thus be available.

However, what investors sometimes fail to consider is manganese reserves, or how much economically mineable manganese a country holds. While in general the world’s top manganese-producing countries also hold high manganese reserves, in some cases countries with high manganese reserves are not putting out much manganese.

With that in mind, here’s an overview of manganese reserves by country, with a particular focus on the three countries that currently hold the highest manganese reserves. All manganese reserves by country data is based on the US Geological Survey’s most recent report on manganese.

1. South Africa

Manganese reserves: 200 million MT

At 200 million MT, South Africa holds the highest manganese reserves in the world by a long shot. And unlike some countries with high manganese reserves, the nation is a major producer of the metal. In fact, it was the world’s top producer of manganese in 2016 with output of 4.7 million MT.

South32 (ASX:S32,LSE:S32) is a major presence in the South African manganese space. South Africa Manganese, one of the company’s four operations in South Africa, is made up of Metalloys and Hotazel Manganese Mines, which is owned by Hotazel Manganese Mines Proprietary. Notably, Hotazel Manganese Mines is located in the manganese-rich Kalahari Basin, which holds 80 percent of the world’s known manganese ore resources.

2. Ukraine

Manganese reserves: 140 million MT

Ukraine produces much less manganese than South Africa, but its reserves of the metal are nevertheless high — it put out 320,000 MT of manganese in 2016, and its reserves stand at 140 million MT. Russia Insider has said in the past that it’s difficult for the country to harness its mineral resources due to a combination of corruption, war and mismanagement.

3. Brazil

Manganese reserves: 116 million MT

Brazil’s manganese reserves total 116 million MT. The country produced 1.1 million MT of manganese in 2016, almost the same amount it put out in 2015, making it the fifth-largest manganese-producing country.

Major miner Vale (NYSE:VALE) is the largest producer of manganese in the country, and accounts for a whopping 70 percent of its market. According to the company, 80 percent of the manganese it produces comes from the Azul mine.

More manganese reserves by country

South Africa, Ukraine and Brazil have the highest manganese reserves, but many other countries also hold significant manganese reserves. Here’s a quick look at where other nations stand:

  1. Australia — 91 million MT
  2. India — 52 million MT
  3. China — 43 million MT
  4. Gabon — 22 million MT
  5. Ghana — 12 million MT
  6. Kazakhstan — 5 million MT
  7. Mexico — 5 million MT

Various other countries hold smaller amounts of manganese reserves, with the world total sitting at 690 million MT.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates.

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.


Manganese Supply Chain Challenges — Critical Need for a North American Supplier

North America is without a domestic manganese supply chain, and that poses significant problems for economic growth on the continent.

Manganese plays an important role in steelmaking due to its ability to combine with sulfur. When manganese is added to molten steel, it increases the alloy’s strength and makes it more resistant to impact. In fact, steelmaking is impossible without manganese; for every tonne of iron, 10 to 20 pounds of manganese must be added, making it the fourth-most-traded metal commodity in the world. Only aluminum, iron ore and copper are more widely used. As a steel alloy, there is no substitute for manganese.

While 90 percent of manganese is used for making steel, the battery industry is its second-largest consumer — the space is attracting more and more attention from investors who understand the uses of critical metals like manganese in the production of batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) and other renewable energy applications such as electricity grid storage. Rising demand for manganese-based batteries for these applications is expected to translate into strong demand for electrolytic manganese dioxide (EMD), an upgraded form of manganese that is a key ingredient of lithium-ion, alkaline and zinc/manganese batteries.

Manganese ore is produced mainly by four countries: South Africa, Australia, China and Gabon. Out of a world market of 33.7 million tonnes, 35 percent is mined in China, 16 percent in South Africa, 13 percent in Australia and 9 percent in Gabon. Some manganese deposits are rich enough in manganese to direct ship the ore, while for others the manganese content is lower, meaning the ore must be beneficiated to improve its grade before being sent on for further processing. Manganese is smelted to form ferromanganese and silicomanganese, alloys that are used in steelmaking.

North America without domestic manganese supply chain

North America is 100 percent dependent on manganese imports for its steel and battery production — a unique and potentially destabilizing situation considering the critical need for battery technology, the vulnerability of the US steel industry and the continent’s dependence on major manganese producers like South Africa and China. North America’s lack of a domestic manganese supply chain has been compared to the stranglehold the Arab states had over the American oil market in the 1970s.

The US has no manganese reserves and no producing mines, a situation echoed in most industrialized countries, including those in Europe. The problem is partly related to geology, although that is not the complete picture. According to the US Geological Survey, manganese ore containing 20 percent or more manganese has not been produced in the US or Canada since 1970. At that time, most manganese was consumed by steel plants in the Eastern US and Midwest — either to make pig iron or by upgrading the ore to ferroalloys. Other uses were in dry cell batteries, plant fertilizers, animal feed and as a brick colorant.

All the high-grade (over 20 percent) manganese ore was mined out, leaving just the low-grade material. It is considered too expensive to mine given the lower-cost and easier alternative, which is to import it. The US previously had a manganese stockpile, but it has since been depleted.

This INNspired Article is brought to you by:

Manganese X Energy Corp. (TSXV:MN) is a Canadian based company focused on acquiring and advancing North American resource projects with the potential to supply ethically-sourced value added materials to the lithium-ion battery and renewable energy technology markets.Send me an Investor Kit

While that doesn’t seem like a big issue — after all, the US imports other metals considered critical for economic and military purposes, including rare earths, cobalt, chromium and platinum — the lack of a domestic manganese supply chain could upend the US economy in ways that are not currently being foreseen or appreciated, says Rick Mills, a BC-based mining analyst and publisher of Aheadoftheherd.com.

“What people need to realize is that without manganese you can’t make steel,” says Mills. “If Gabon quit shipping in their ore or we had a problem with South Africa, we don’t have a steel industry anymore.”

Small market, big potential for a North American manganese supply chain

The North American manganese market is tiny — just half a million tonnes per year. Most of that goes into steel, with the remainder sold to the battery industry. For the latter, China is the almost exclusive supplier, having cornered the market for EMD. The US is the world’s largest consumer of EMD and China supplies 97 percent of it.

But with tensions between the US and China growing, epitomized by the recent decision by the Trump administration to slap tariffs on Chinese stainless steel, the US needs to be careful about potential counterattacks from the Chinese where they are most vulnerable: EMD.

“The Chinese have the US over a barrel. Slowly people are waking up to the fact that we have about 19 minerals for which we are 100 percent reliant on Russia and China. Manganese is a big one,” says Mills.

Indeed, manganese is a critical link in the lithium-ion battery supply chain that is driving the adoption of EVs. According to Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, energy storage is “the last vital piece” needed to wean the global economy off fossil fuels and enable widespread adoption of EVs and renewable energy.

While the North American manganese market is small now, it has huge potential considering the growing popularity of EVs that run on batteries made from lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese — which is increasingly being seen as a leading-edge metal for battery production.

Tesla turning to manganese

Tesla currently uses nickel-cobalt-aluminum (NCA) batteries for the EVs at its gigafactory in Nevada, but new batteries made from nickel, manganese and cobalt (NMC) have a lower raw material cost, reduced charging time and a longer lifespan. Manganese sells for less than $1 per pound versus around $14 per pound for cobalt, allowing for a much cheaper battery, which in a Tesla accounts for half the price of the vehicle.

The company may soon be switching to manganese-based batteries, having signed a five-year partnership with Dr. Jeff Dahn of Dalhousie University, a prominent NMC battery researcher who has been tasked with reducing battery costs for Tesla.

Other large purchasers of new battery technology are shifting to NMC batteries, including 3M (NYSE:MMM), BMW (ETR:BMW), General Electric (NYSE:GE) and Duracell.

Mills note that while Tesla gets all the hype when it comes to EVs, there are other gigafactories being built in China and India that are all planning to use manganese in their electric car batteries.

He says that Tesla’s current choice of cobalt as a battery ingredient is problematic, not only for its expense, but due to its fragmented supply line. “If Tesla was to build their batteries with cobalt, they would need something like 30 different mines because none of them are primary producers. Cobalt is basically pricing itself out of the market.”

The concern is that if and when the electric car revolution finally gets underway in North America, companies like Tesla will have to go cap in hand to foreign suppliers of manganese for such a critical component of their cars because there won’t be any battery-grade manganese available domestically.

Investors keen on taking advantage of the inevitable gap between manganese supply and demand are looking for pure-play manganese projects with the ability to supply the domestic market. “It’s just not something that’s common. If you can find a decent manganese deposit in North America, you’re going to have the world beating on your door,” says Mills.

This INNspired article is sponsored by Manganese X Energy (TSXV:MN). This article was written according to INN Editorial standards to educate investors. 


10 Top Manganese-producing Countries

Manganese has struggled in recent years, largely due to China’s economic slowdown. The Asian nation generally requires large amounts of the metal for steelmaking, but with slow growth in China excess supply has been weighing on the market.

But late in 2016, the manganese price appeared to stabilize. While it fluctuated for much of the year, those in the industry were pleasantly surprised when it reached $9 per dmtu after hitting multi-year lows just a year prior. Lower worldwide production was partially responsible — last year 16 million MT of manganese were produced globally, down from 17.5 million MT in 2015. 

But where does manganese come from? Interestingly, almost 78 percent of global manganese resources are found in South Africa, but there are many other countries with significant production and reserves. With that in mind, here’s a brief overview of the 10 countries that produced the most manganese in 2016. All stats are taken from the US Geological Survey’s most recent report on the metal.

1. South Africa

Mine production: 4.7 million MT

South Africa is the world’s largest producer of manganese by a long shot. However, in 2016 its output of the metal decreased by 1,200 MT to come in at 4,700 MT. The country also holds the largest reserves of manganese, at 200 million MT.

South32 (ASX:S32,LSE:S32) is a major presence in the South African manganese space. South Africa Manganese, one of the company’s four operations in South Africa, is made up of Metalloys and Hotazel Manganese Mines, which is owned by Hotazel Manganese Mines Proprietary. Notably, Hotazel Manganese Mines is located in the manganese-rich Kalahari Basin, which holds 80 percent of the world’s known manganese ore resources.

2. China

Mine production: 3 million MT

China was the second-largest producer of manganese last year, recording output of 3 million MT; that’s the same amount it produced in 2015.

As mentioned, the country is a major consumer of manganese as it uses large amounts of the metal in steelmaking; however, the country’s current sluggish economic growth means that lately it hasn’t required as much manganese as it usually does. A manganese reserve believed to contain 203 million tonnes of manganese ore was recently discovered in the country, and local authorities believe it is the largest in Asia.

3. Australia

Mine production: 2.5 million MT

Last year, Australia’s manganese production increased slightly, rising to 2.5 million MT from 2015’s 2.45 million MT. Though South32 is a key player in the South African manganese space, it also has manganese operations in Australia. Australia Manganese, which the company has a 60-percent stake in, is made up of the GEMCO open-cut manganese mine and the TEMCO manganese alloy plant. According to the company, GEMCO is one of the world’s lowest-cost manganese ore producers.

Anglo American (LSE:AAL) holds the other 40-percent interest in Australia Manganese, and last year South32 said it would be interested in buying Anglo’s share “if the price is right.”

4. Gabon

Mine production: 2 million MT

In 2016, Gabon produced 2 million MT of manganese, slightly down from the 2.02 million MT it put out in 2015.

The Moanda mine is a key manganese operation in the country. ERAMET (EPA:ERA), the world’s second-largest producer of high-grade manganese ore, operates the mine through its subsidiary COMILOG. In 2016, ERAMET’s overall manganese production totaled 3.4 million tons.

5. Brazil

Mine production: 1.1 million MT

Brazil produced 1.1 million MT of manganese in 2016, almost the same amount it put out in 2015. Major miner Vale (NYSE:VALE) is the largest producer of manganese in the country, and accounts for a whopping 70 percent of its market. According to the company, 80 percent of the manganese it produces comes from the Azul mine.

Like China, Brazil is a consumer of manganese in addition to being a top producer of the metal. Interestingly, an infographic from Visual Capitalist suggests that in the future, much of the manganese that Brazil uses could to go the agricultural sector. The country is a major supplier of agricultural products, but the land it uses to produce those products is low in manganese. As a result, the country’s demand for manganese is expected to grow in coming years as farmers look to improve crop health.

6. India

Mine production: 950,000 MT

In 2016, India produced 950,000 MT of manganese, off slightly from 2015’s 900,000 MT.

As with China and Brazil, the country is a big consumer of manganese as well as one of the top producers in the world. Unfortunately, that could pose problems for the country in the years to come — according to the Indian Ministry of Mines, the country will face a shortage of manganese for steel production by 2020. The organization’s report, “Manganese Ore: Vision 2020 and Beyond,” outlines the need for increased production to support growing domestic manganese demand.

7. Ghana

Mine production: 480,000 MT

Ghana’s 2016 manganese output clocked in at 480,000 MT, up from 416,000 MT in 2015. Most manganese in the country is mined in the area around Takoradi.

Consolidated Minerals, better known as Consmin, is one of the four largest producers of manganese in the world by volume, and holds a 90-percent stake in Ghana Manganese Company, which runs the Nsuta mine. Nsuta has total reserves of 45.01 million MT grading 28.16 percent manganese, and total resources of 101.3 million MT grading 26.8 percent manganese.

8. Ukraine

Mine production: 320,000 MT

Ukraine produced 320,000 MT of manganese in 2016, a decrease from the previous year, when it put out 410,000 MT. Interestingly, the country has the second-largest reserves of manganese in the world, at 140 million MT. Russia Insider has said in the past that it’s difficult for the country to harness its mineral resources due to a combination of corruption, war and mismanagement.

9. Mexico

Mine production: 220,000 MT

Mexico produced 220,000 MT of manganese in 2016; that’s the same amount it produced the year prior.

Autlan (BMV:AUTLANB), founded in 1953, operates the Molango mine in Hidalgo state. The mine contains the most important deposits of metallurgical-grade manganese ore in North America and Central America, and is one of the largest manganese deposits in the world.

10. Malaysia

Mine production: 200,000 MT

Malaysia put out 200,000 MT of manganese in 2016, almost the same amount it produced the previous year. According to Roskill, over the past decade Malaysia has gone from producing almost no manganese to annual output of over 100,000 MT. Malaysia’s manganese is found in the states of Johor, Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates.

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.


This article is updated each year. Please scroll to the top for the most recent information.

10 Top Manganese-producing Countries

by Charlotte McLeod, March 10, 2016

Manganese had a tough time in 2015, largely due to China’s economic slowdown. The Asian nation generally requires large amounts of the metal for steelmaking, but with slow growth in China an excess of supply is weighing on the market. 

Case in point: at the beginning of February, South32 (ASX:S32,LSE:S32), the world’s largest producer of manganese, completed a strategic review of its South African manganese assets, announcing, among other things, plans to cut employees and “re-base manganese ore production at a significantly lower level.” Later that month, the company reported a half-year loss of US$1.7 billion — it was connected to writedowns on its manganese and coal businesses.

With such a dominant manganese producer experiencing difficulties, it might seem odd that output of the metal increased in 2015 — worldwide production came to 18 million MT, up slightly from 17.8 million MT in 2014. Here’s a brief overview of the 10 countries that produced the most manganese in 2015. All stats are taken from the US Geological Survey’s most recent report on the metal.

1. South Africa

Mine production: 6.2 million MT

South Africa is the world’s largest producer of manganese by a long shot. In 2015, its output of the metal increased by 1,000 MT, rising from 2014’s 5,200 MT to 6,200 MT. The country also holds the largest reserves of manganese, at 200 million MT.

Unsurprisingly, South32 is a major presence in the South African manganese space. South Africa Manganese, one of the company’s four operations in South Africa, is made up of Metalloys and Hotazel Manganese Mines, which is owned by Hotazel Manganese Mines Proprietary. Notably, Hotazel Manganese Mines is located in the manganese-rich Kalahari Basin, which holds 80 percent of the world’s known manganese ore resources.

2. China

Mine production: 3 million MT

China was the second-largest producer of manganese last year, recording output of 3 million MT; that’s the same amount it produced in 2014.

As mentioned, the country is also a major consumer of manganese as it uses large amounts of the metal in steelmaking; however, the country’s current sluggish economic growth means that lately it hasn’t required as much manganese as it usually does. And unfortunately, that situation doesn’t look likely to change in the near future — in a recent report, Shanghai Metals Market predicts that China’s manganese alloy output will grow less than 5 percent year-over-year for the next five years. That will “inevitably see an accelerated decline in [manganese] demand.”

3. Australia

Mine production: 2.9 million MT

Last year, Australia’s manganese production decreased, falling to 2.9 million MT from 2014’s 3.05 million MT.

Though South32 is a key player in the South African manganese space, it also has manganese operations in Australia. Australia Manganese, which the company has a 60-percent stake in, is made up of the GEMCO open-cut manganese mine and the TEMCO manganese alloy plant. According to the company, GEMCO is one of the world’s lowest-cost manganese ore producers.

Anglo American (LSE:AAL) holds the other 40-percent interest in Australia Manganese, and earlier this year South32 said it would be interested in buying Anglo’s share “if the price is right.”

4. Gabon

Mine production: 1.8 million MT

In 2015, Gabon produced 1.8 million MT of manganese, slightly down from the 1.86 million MT it put out in 2014.

The Moanda mine is a key manganese operation in the country. ERAMET (EPA:ERA), the world’s second-largest producer of high-grade manganese ore, operates the mine through its subsidiary COMILOG. In 2014, ERAMET’s overall manganese production totaled 3.5 million tons — that was less than expected due to an accident that affected the railway in the country.

5. Brazil

Mine production: 1 million MT

Brazil produced 1 million MT of manganese in 2015, slightly less than the 1.04 million MT it put out in 2014. Major miner Vale (NYSE:VALE) is the largest producer of manganese in the country, and accounts for a whopping 70 percent of its market. According to the company, 80 percent of the manganese it produces comes from the Azul mine.

Like China, Brazil is a consumer of manganese in addition to being a top producer of the metal. Interestingly, a recent infographic from Visual Capitalist suggests that in the future, much of the manganese that Brazil uses could to go the agricultural sector. The country is a major supplier of agricultural products, but the land it uses to produce those products is low in manganese. As a result, the country’s demand for manganese is expected to grow in coming years as farmers look to improve crop health.

6. India

Mine production: 950,000 MT

In 2015, India produced 950,000 MT of manganese, off slightly from 2014’s 945,000 MT.

As with China and Brazil, the country is a big consumer of manganese as well as one of the top producers in the world. Unfortunately, that could pose problems for the country in the years to come — according to the Indian Ministry of Mines, the country will face a shortage of manganese for steel production by 2020. The organization’s report, “Manganese Ore: Vision 2020 and Beyond,” outlines the need for increased production to support growing domestic manganese demand.

7. Malaysia

Mine production: 400,000 MT

Malaysia put out 400,000 MT of manganese in 2015, higher than the 378,000 MT it produced the previous year. The US Geological survey notes in a 2013 report on the country that its manganese output had gradually ticked upward since 2005. It also states that Malaysia’s manganese is found in the states of Johor, Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu.

8. Ghana

Mine production: 390,000 MT

Ghana’s 2015 manganese output clocked in at 390,000 MT, down from 418,000 MT in 2014. Most manganese in the country is mined in the area around Takoradi.

Consolidated Minerals, better known as Consmin, is one of the four largest producers of manganese in the world by volume, and holds a 90-percent stake in Ghana Manganese Company, which runs the Nsuta mine. Nsuta has total reserves of 45.01 million MT grading 28.16 percent manganese, and total resources of 101.3 million MT grading 26.8 percent manganese.

9. Kazakhstan

Mine production: 390,000 MT

Like Ghana, Kazakhstan produced 390,000 MT of manganese in 2015; that’s up slightly from 380,000 MT the year prior. Privately owned Eurasian Natural Resources runs multiple manganese mines in Kazakhstan. In 2014, Glencore (LSE:GLEN) was said to be interested in buying those assets, but ultimately did not do so.

10. Ukraine

Mine production: 390,000 MT

As with Ghana and Kazakhstan, Ukraine produced 390,000 MT of manganese in 2015; the previous year it put out 422,000 MT. Interestingly, the country has the second-largest reserves of manganese in the world, at 140 million MT. Russia Insider has said in the past that it’s difficult for the country to harness its mineral resources due to a combination of corruption, war and mismanagement.

This is an updated version of an article originally published on Manganese Investing News on June 8, 2015. 

Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 


Manganese is Energy Critical

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

In 1917 the War Industries Board (WIB) noted that the United States was deficient in certain minerals of great importance to war making and self defense. A pre-World War II list of materials contained a total of 29 materials: 14 were strategic materials that ‘must be based entirely or in substantial part on sources outside the United States.’ There were 15 critical materials that would be easier to source, perhaps even domestically, than the strategic materials.

The 1939 Strategic Materials Act authorized US$100 million to purchase strategic raw materials for a stockpile of 42 strategic and critical materials needed for wartime production.

By May 1940, small quantities of certain materials – ie. chromite, manganese (Mn), rubber and tin (Sn) – had been procured under the Strategic Materials Act. The purchases certainly weren’t enough and all throughout the war effort these and other numerous materials had to be imported in large quantities.

By 1948 the WIB’s Munitions Board had developed a list of 51 required strategic and critical material groups. By 1950 the number of required strategic and critical materials had expanded to 54 groups, representing 75 specific commodities.

Let’s fast forward a few decades…

The Metallurgical Achilles’ Heel of the United States

A concise summary of U.S. mineral vulnerabilities was presented to the Industrial Readiness Panel of the House Armed Services Committee as early as 1980 by General Alton D. Slay, Commander Air Force Systems Command. General Slay pointed out that technological advances have increased the demand for exotic minerals at the same time that legislative and regulatory restrictions have been imposed on the U.S. mining industry.

“The U.S. depends on southern Africa’s minerals for about the fifty percent of the “big four”. Thus, a long-term cutoff of any or all of these materials has the potential for an economic and strategic crisis of greater proportions than the oil crisis of the 1970s. An embargo of South African minerals to the U.S. would affect millions of American jobs in the steel, aerospace, and petroleum industries, and could in effect shut down those industry groups.” U.S. Strategic and Critical Materials Imports: Dependency and Vulnerability

The 1981 report “A Congressional Handbook on U.S. Minerals Dependency/Vulnerability” singled out eight materials “for which the industrial health and defense of the United States is most vulnerable to potential supply disruptions” – chromium, cobalt, manganese, the platinum group of metals, titanium, bauxite/aluminum, columbium, and tantalum – the first five have been called “the metallurgical Achilles’ heel of our civilization.”

In 1981, President Reagan announced a “major purchase program for the National Defense Stockpile, saying that it was widely recognized that our nation is vulnerable to sudden shortages in basic raw materials that are necessary to our defense production base.

In 1984 U.S. Marine Corps Major R.A. Hagerman wrote: “Since World War ll, the United States has become increasingly dependent on foreign sources for almost all non-fuel minerals. The availability of these minerals have an extremely important impact on American industry and, in turn, on U.S. defense capabilities. Without just a few critical minerals, such as cobalt, manganese, chromium and platinum, it would be virtually impossible to produce many defense products such as jet engine, missile components, electronic components, iron, steel, etc. This places the U.S. in a vulnerable position with a direct threat to our defense production capability if the supply of strategic minerals is disrupted by foreign powers.”

In 1985, the secretary of the United States Army testified before Congress that America was more than 50 percent dependent on foreign sources for 23 of 40 critical materials essential to U.S. national security.

The 1988 article “United States Dependence On Imports Of Four Strategic And Critical Minerals: Implications And Policy Alternatives” by G. Kevin Jones was written in regards to what he thought are the most critical minerals upon which the United States is dependent for foreign sources of supply – chromium, cobalt, manganese and the platinum group metals (PGE). These metals represent the “metallurgical Achilles’ heel” of United States strategic mineral supply because their role in the economy is pervasive and they are vulnerable to supply interruption.

The May 1989 report “U.S. Strategic and Critical Materials Imports: Dependency and Vulnerability. The Latin American Alternative,” deals with over 90 materials identified in the Defense Material inventories as of September 1987. At least 15 of these minerals are considered “key minerals” because the US is over 50% import reliant. All these minerals are essential to domestic security and the national economy but four are referred to as the “first tier” or “big four” strategic materials because of their widespread role and vulnerability to supply disruptions – chromium, cobalt, manganese and platinum group metals.

In 1992 Congress directed that the bulk of the strategic and critical materials the U.S. had been able to accumulate in the National Defense Stockpile be sold.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), in 1999 the United States was at least 50 percent dependent on a foreign source for 27 out of the 100 materials covered in its publication Mineral Commodity Summaries. By 2013, this number had grown to 41 materials out of 100.

The primary purpose of the National Defense Stockpile (NDS Program) is to decrease the risk of dependence on foreign suppliers or single suppliers on supply chains of strategic and critical materials used in defense, essential civilian, and essential industry applications. The NDS Program allows for decreasing risk by maintaining a domestically held inventory of necessary materials.

Section 12 (1) of the Stock Piling Act defines strategic and critical materials as materials that (A) would be needed to supply the military, industrial, and essential civilian needs of the United States during a national emergency and (B) are not found or produced in the United States in sufficient quantities to meet such need. Based on the results of the 2015 Requirements Report research, the NDS Program recommended new authorities for twelve of the 21 materials exhibiting a net shortfall:

  • aluminum oxide, fused crude
  • antimony
  • beryllium metal
  • carbon fiber (two types)
  • chlorosulfonated polyethylene
  • europium
  • germanium
  • lanthanum
  • magnesium
  • manganese metal, electrolytic
  • silicon carbide fiber, multifilament

Manganese

Aside from iron manganese is the most essential mineral in the production of steel. You can’t produce steel without adding 10 to 20 lbs. of manganese per ton of iron. Which makes manganese the fourth largest traded metal commodity.

Both Canada and the United States have numerous and vast iron ore deposits, yet neither country produces manganese.

Fact – Manganese is a strategic mineral essential for the economy and defense of the United States.

Fact – Manganese cannot be sourced in adequate quantities from reliable and secure domestic suppliers.

Fact – There is no substitute for manganese, as a matter of fact manganese has itself become a substitute in certain alloy applications.

Security of supply

Many minerals were recognized as critical and strategic almost a hundred years ago (manganese was identified among them). Some – referred to as the big four, the top tier or the metallurgical achilles heel of the U.S. – are more critical than others.

Chromium, cobalt, manganese and the platinum group metals (PGE) – are the basic building blocks any nation needs for its economic foundation.

The U.S. is dependent on South Africa, the politically unstable Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) and an increasingly unreliable and aggressive China for over half of its supply of what it considers strategic or critical minerals.

“As resource constraints tighten globally, countries that depend heavily on ecological services from other nations may find that their resource supply becomes insecure and unreliable. This has economic implications – in particular for countries that depend upon large amounts of ecological assets to power their key industries or to support their consumption patterns and lifestyles.” Dr. Mathis Wackernagel, President of the Global Footprint Network

Critical materials, especially the ‘big four’ – chromium, cobalt, manganese and the platinum group – are the metallurgical Achilles’ heel of our civilization. Accessing a sustainable, and secure, supply of these raw materials is going to become the number one priority for all countries.

So why have I singled out manganese? Out of all the strategic or critical minerals I could of talked about I choose manganese. Yes, it’s been considered strategic for a century because of its use in steel making and alloys but something else is up with manganese that you, an intelligent well informed ahead of the herd investor should know about.

“the country (U.S. – editor) is devoid of any electrolytic manganese production, importing it all from — you guessed it — China, with lesser amounts from South Africa…

It is important to be clear we are talking about electrolytic manganese, not ferro-manganese or silico-manganese, which are produced in the US from manganese ores imported from Gabon, but mostly supplied as ferro-alloys imported from South Africa, China and elsewhere. Electrolytic manganese is used as an alloying element in aluminum and copper alloys, as a colorant in bricks, and combined with lithium or nickel in batteries. Indeed, its use in lithium-ion manganese batteries is its fastest and potentially most challenging application — if the US cannot access competitively priced and reliable supplies of manganese, a host of high-tech new applications will be lost to foreign competitors.

Although manganese has been used for years in conventional batteries, its use in the newest generation of batteries for electric vehicles is likely to grab the most attention.” Stuart Burns,U.S. Facing Supply Risk for Electrolytic Manganese Metal

Current tensions between the United States and China highlight the need for security of supply regarding the materials and minerals the U.S. considers strategic and critical. 

Critical Materials

A strategic or critical material is a commodity whose lack of availability during a national emergency would seriously affect the economic, industrial, and defensive capability of a country. Manganese has met this criteria for over 100 years.

In its 2011, Critical Materials Strategy Report, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) focused on materials used in four clean energy technologies:

  • wind turbines – permanent magnets
  • electric vehicles – permanent magnets & advanced batteries
  • solar cells – thin film semi conductors
  • energy efficient lighting – phosphors

The DOE says they selected these particular components for two reasons:

  • Deployment of the clean energy technologies that use them is projected to increase, perhaps significantly, in the short, medium and long term
  • Each uses significant quantities of key materials

The DOE defines “criticality” as a measure that combines importance to the clean energy economy and risk of supply disruption.

A Report by the APS Panel on Public Affairs and the Materials Research Society coined the term “energy-critical element” (ECE) to describe a class of elements that currently appear critical to one or more new, energy related technologies – batteries certainly fit in here.

Conclusion

For the last couple of decades energy researchers have focused on capturing power from renewable sources and making our existing electric infrastructure as efficient as possible. Energy storage is the last vital piece, the still missing third link needed to wean the global economy off fossil fuels and enable widespread adoption of renewable clean energy and electric cars.

We know the United States has long considered manganese a strategic material. We know the U.S. has no production of its own – instead relying on others to supply Mn ore and value added manganese products.

We also know energy storage is critical for renewable integration and electrification of the energy infrastructure. So, shouldn’t manganese suddenly becoming an “energy-critical element” be on all our radar screens?

Is manganese on your screen?

If not, it should be.

Richard (Rick) Mills

aheadoftheherd.com

Richard lives with his family on a 160 acre ranch in northern British Columbia. He invests in the resource and biotechnology/pharmaceutical sectors and is the owner of aheadoftheherd.com.

***

Legal Notice / Disclaimer

This document is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase or subscribe for any investment.

Richard Mills has based this document on information obtained from sources he believes to be reliable but which has not been independently verified.

Richard Mills makes no guarantee, representation or warranty and accepts no responsibility or liability as to its accuracy or completeness. Expressions of opinion are those of Richard Mills only and are subject to change without notice.

Richard Mills assumes no warranty, liability or guarantee for the current relevance, correctness or completeness of any information provided within this Report and will not be held liable for the consequence of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained herein or any omission.

Furthermore, I, Richard Mills, assume no liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage or, in particular, for lost profit, which you may incur as a result of the use and existence of the information provided within this Report.

The post Manganese is Energy Critical first appeared on Ahead of the Herd.


Manganese Ore Prices Jump on Chinese Demand

Platts reported that prices for manganese ore delivered to China rose 12 to 15 percent week-on-week on Friday. The sizable increase came on the back of strong Chinese demand and concerns about supply.

As quoted in the market news:

Platts assessed its weekly 44% manganese ore price at $2.90/dmtu CIF Tianjin on Friday, up from $2.60/dmtu last week. The assessment for 37% manganese ore stood at $2.70/dmtu, up from a $2.35/dmtu, same basis.

Market talk is that Australian 44%-46% lumps are currently being offered at $3-$3.05/dmtu for April shipments, CIF China basis, with Australian fines heard quoted around $2.80/dmtu, multiple market participants agreed Friday.

No offers were heard for Gabon 44% ores on Friday, while quotes for South African ores were pegged around $2.80-$3.00/dmtu for April-May shipments, sources added.

A Shaanxi consumer source said:

It’s madness now, and prices are still on the rise … there are very limited stocks around and the Chinese are scrambling to buy. We heard South Africa’s UMK has no more April stocks and may soon start offering May shipments at above $3.00/dmtu, so anything is possible.

Click here to read the full Platts report.


China’s Manganese Imports From South Africa Up 15 Percent on Year

Platts reported that China’s imports of manganese ore and concentrate from South Africa is up 15 percent year-on-year, totaling 4.97 million metric tonnes from January to September.

As quoted in the market news:

South Africa is China’s top source of imported manganese ore and concentrate.

The other main suppliers over January-September were Australia at 3.26 million mt, Gabon 1.3 million mt, Brazil 1.1 million mt, Malaysia 487,297 mt, Ghana 297,993 mt, Cote d’Ivoir 185,284 mt, Morocco 45,607 mt, Namibia 34,440 mt and Oman 28,836 mt.

Imports from the 10 main suppliers totaled 11.71 million mt and comprised 99.3% of China’s total manganese ore and concentrate imports of 11.79 million mt over January-September.

Click here to read the full Platts report.


Ferrex and Cancana Moving Forward in Manganese Market

Ferrex and Cancana Moving Forward in Manganese Market

Two companies have made progress as they look to breathe some new life into a somewhat stagnant manganese market.

Ferrex (LSE:FRX) announced Thursday that it has been granted an environmental permit for its Nayega project in Northern Togo, while Cancana Resources (TSXV:CNY) revealed earlier in the week that it has identified four additional sites on its Brazil Manganese Corporation (BMC) tenements. BMC is a joint venture between Cancana and Ferrometals.

Ferrex makes the switch

Though Ferrex produces iron in addition to manganese, falling iron ore prices have forced the company to focus on its manganese properties.

“The Company has decided to primarily focus on its manganese assets and developing it towards production in the near term whilst continuing to advance its iron ore assets in South Africa and Gabon using in house skills to keep expenditure to a minimum,” Dave Reeves, managing director of Ferrex, said in a press release earlier this month.

Since then the company has stayed true to its word, not only gaining an environmental permit for Nayega, but also receiving extensions on its prospecting permits after relinquishing 50 percent of the 92,000-hectare property.

“The renewal of the exploration permits also shows the support that the company has in Togo and allows us to continue the ongoing exploration programme that is defining new manganese mineralisation outside the main Nayega deposit,” said Reeves in a statement.

The permits have been renewed for two years, and a further two years subsequently, giving the company the space it needs to develop.

Cancana hopes exploring pays off

Cancana provided a Q3 update on behalf of BMC, noting that during the quarter, BMC’s production hit 1,200 tons, with 250 tons sold as commercial samples.

The company hopes to improve those numbers by increasing its efficiency — this past quarter, the company shut down its Rio Madeira plant for five weeks as it made improvements to the trommel and tailings ponds and addressed water access issues. Meanwhile, acquisition delays forced the Jaburi plant to come online in late September.

Cancana CEO Anthony Julien seems confident the best is yet to come. ”The BMC team has done an excellent job in bringing together the 3 assets and improving them to reach Canadian mining standards. Now that both plants are online and we have a mine plan to deliver consistent quality material, BMC is on-track to meeting its production target by December, 31, 2014,” he said in a press release.

On a different note, BMC has identified four additional sites for mining. The company has started permitting and planning as it looks to start mining at those sites; if they appear feasible they will provide a source of feed for Rio Madeira and Jaburi.

Looking forward

Both Ferrex and Cancana have moves to make as they look to thrive in the current market. Ferrex is looking to both secure its mining permit before the end of the quarter and finalize its definitive feasibility study.

For its part, Cancana is waiting on the completion of testing performed by BMC to ensure the material it’s producing meets market requirements. To help that cause, BMC is currently constructing an on-site sample preparation lab to improve analysis times.

 

Securities Disclosure: I, Nick Wells, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.