High-purity electrolytic manganese metal production from a demonstration plant in the Czech Republic is a “significant milestone” for ASX-listed junior Euro Manganese as it seeks to advance work on developing a US$750 million project recovering metal from tailings at the former Chvaletice mine, 90km east of Prague.
Euro Manganese CEO Dr Matthew James said external laboratory testing confirmed an initial batch of high-purity electrolytic manganese metal (HPEMM) sent for testing met target specifications and was at 99.9% manganese metal purity. High-purity manganese sulphate (HPMSM) was now being produced in the final process module built at Chvaletice and would be sent for external laboratory testing soon.
Euro Manganese said its demonstration plant was expected to start acceptance testing late this month. After that it aimed to begin deliveries of HPEMM and HPMSM to potential customers.
“Producing high-purity electrolytic manganese metal from our demonstration plant is a significant milestone and de-risks our process flow sheet,” James said.
“I look forward to receiving confirmation that HPMSM produced is on-spec and completing the commissioning process.
“We are eager to provide customers with high-purity manganese from our demonstration plant so they can either get started on, or continue with, their qualification process of our products.”
Euro Manganese says its “waste-to-value recycling and remediation” project at the site of the “only sizable resource of manganese in the European Union” is based on a Tetra Tech-verified recoverable reserve of circa-27 million tonnes grading an average 7.41% manganese.
Its 2022 feasibility study outlined a 25-year project life producing 1.19Mt of HPEMM, with about two-thirds of that targeted for conversion on-site into HPMSM. The FS came up with an after-tax NPV of US$1.34 billion using an 8% discount rate, and an after-tax IRR of about 22% for a $757.3 million project.
Euro Manganese highlighted CPM Group projections that have demand for high-purity manganese expanding 13-fold between 2021 and 2031 to 1.1Mt and 50 times between 2021 and 2050 to 4.5Mt.
High-purity manganese suitable for the battery market is estimated to make up less than 0.5% of the total c22Mtpa global manganese market.
Chvaletice operated between 1951 and 1975.
Euro Manganese starting commissioning ore-to-slurry and magnetic separation modules of its demonstration circuit last November and the section yielded concentrate from Chvaletice manganese carbonate tailings by the end of 2022.
The leaching and purification module produced a purified solution earlier this year.
“This solution, and both products from the subsequent steps – HPEMM and HPMSM – are required to be sent to an external laboratory that has the specialised measurement equipment required for analysis of the low-level of impurities targeted in the demonstration plant process,” Euro Manganese said.
“External laboratory results from the leaching and purification module were received in February 2023, confirming the purified solution met the required specification.
“The electrowinning module successfully produced selenium-free HPEMM flakes in March 2023.
“The final dissolution and crystallisation module has now commenced commissioning and HPMSM will be sent to the external laboratory for testing in due course.”
Euro Manganese says its metal-production flow sheet can guarantee the stability of its HPMSM specification and generate feedstock for new technologies such as Nano One’s metal-to-cathode M2CAM One-Pot Process.
Its fully operational demonstration plant will be able to produce up to 32kg a day of HPEMM or 100kg per day of HPMSM.