Manganese positioning South Africa for entry into huge new energy markets

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – South African manganese mining firm Jupiter Mines introduced on Tuesday that it has produced a 99.9% pure pattern of excessive purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPMSM) utilizing the Northern Cape’s manganese ore and bringing into service an internally developed hydrometallurgical manufacturing course of.

Inclusion of the battery grade manganese within the cathode of electrical automobile batteries introduces price environment friendly power density and potential security enhancements, Jupiter acknowledged in its media launch to Mining Weekly.

Jupiter’s advance in the direction of producing HPMSM follows that of Manganese Steel Co (MMC), chaired by South African mining stalwart Bernard Swanepoel.

As reported by Engineering Information & Mining Weekly in September, MMC is within the early section of setting up a small-scale 5 000 t/y business HPMSM plant in Mbombela (Nelspruit), which is predicted to be in manufacturing by 2026. This plant can be a brownfield addition to MMC’s excessive purity electrolytic manganese metallic (EMM) refinery.

The wording of the Jupiter media launch to Mining Weekly is that the Australia-listed firm’s advance is “the primary printed document of HPMSM being produced by a South African manganese miner utilizing its personal course of”. The manganese product is described as being of battery-grade high quality in conformity with specs supplied by the Worldwide Manganese Institute.

“We’re very inspired by the excessive purity testing outcomes that we have achieved via the HPMSM manufacturing course of that we developed, in addition to the progress we’re making on our enterprise case growth extra typically. Our purpose is to deliver distinctive worth to this downstream integration technique and to derive enticing returns in trade,” stated Jupiter MD Brad Rogers.

Subsequent yr, MMC will full half a century of being a producer of the world’s purest 99.9% manganese EMM metallic from ore that’s mined within the Kalahari by Johannesburg-, Sydney- and London-listed diversified mining firm South32.

For a while, prospects have been shopping for MMC’s excessive purity manganese metallic to dissolve it into HPMSM, and this has prompted MMC to enter the HPMSM manufacturing house itself.

As soon as the 5 000 t/y plant is constructed, accredited and goes into the batteries of the world, then the sky would be the restrict for MMC, which can have the ability to step out and put South Africa on the battery grade manganese map.

MMC’s ahead motion into HPMSM is going down amid key battery electrical automobile (BEV) producers pursuing this extra reasonably priced and greener cathode lively materials with larger manganese content material as the fabric of alternative.

Jupiter is performing location research to find out the best location of its first plant. The bottom case for this work is that Jupiter’s refining facility can be in US or Canada, with Europe another.

In the end, the choice can be knowledgeable by quite a lot of key standards, together with the situation of possible offtake companions.

Jupiter can be contemplating the deserves of manufacturing a manganese focus in South Africa, previous to transportation and refinement in North America or elsewhere.

At this yr’s Fastmarkets European Battery Uncooked Supplies occasion in Amsterdam, MMC market growth govt Madelein Todd highlighted the dedication of MMC to provide sought-after HPMSM in Mbombela instantly from manganese ore, along with being the producer of the world’s highest 99.9% pure manganese metallic going again to 1974.

In the meantime, Jupiter, primarily based on its strategic evaluation and discussions with market individuals, expressed perception that there can be “a rising and long-term demand for HPMSM, which can be undersupplied for a interval commencing within the late 2020s”.

Jupiter quoted the Worldwide Vitality Company as discovering that the everyday BEV would require extra manganese than lithium and cobalt and Bloomberg New Vitality Finance as anticipating a provide deficit of 72% (relative to whole demand) by 2030.

On monitor to finish a scoping degree market entry enterprise case by December 31, Jupiter will advocate, if applicable, the graduation of extra detailed work in early 2024. This will likely embrace the development of a pilot demonstration plant, previous to a remaining funding resolution (FID) and continuing business plant development.

Jupiter’s laboratory pattern of HPMSM – produced utilizing 28% to 32% manganese content material Tshipi ore ­– was reportedly inside required tolerance limits for all specified impurity ranges. Ntsimbintle Mining, chaired by South Africa’s Saki Macozoma, owns 51.1% of Tshipi and Jupiter 49.9%.

Ought to additional work show profitable, Jupiter intends to construct and function an HPMSM conversion facility, into which it would make investments fairness alongside co-investment from varied exterior sources.

Confidential discussions, that are underneath manner with a number of co-investors and potential offtake prospects, are geared toward serving to to place trusting relationships in place by the point FIDs are required.

Jupiter’s major market is the metal business. An funding within the manufacturing of HPMSM would allow market diversification and scale back product threat.

Whereas comparatively small as compared, downstream diversification into supplying the HPMSM market would offer a chance for Jupiter to optimise the usage of its mineral sources.

Jupiter has group members with expertise within the manufacturing of pure manganese merchandise.

Two of Jupiter’s largest long-term buyers, steelmaker Posco and AMCI, are buyers in downstream battery mineral processing.

MMC’S GREEN ENERGY

Remarkably, MMC is wheeling 1.8 MW of unpolluted inexperienced hydropower from Lydenburg, additionally in Mpumalanga, to its plant from a hydropower station on the Crocodile river.

This was commissioned following the completion of a strategy of choice of a vendor for the provision of photo voltaic photovoltaic power.

Furthermore, in robust advances to be cleaner and greener, a round beneficiation mannequin has additionally been launched within the type of its landfill materials getting used to provide clay bricks to be used by native communities.

As the one largest consumer of potable water in Nelspruit, tasks to recycle and clear water are on the go to raise MMC to globally acceptable ranges as an exporter.

At present, 56% of the EMM it produces is bought to Japan, 25% to the US, and 10% to Europe. The EMM is 99.9% pure, beating the following highest 99.7%.

For the final 49 years, MMC has used chemical processing and enormous portions of electrical energy to provide 3% of the world’s manganese metallic that feeds into a top quality area of interest market.

In days passed by, MMC was operated by a Samancor construction on behalf of BHP Billiton and Anglo American. Right this moment it’s owned by MM Holdings, which is, in flip, held 70% by Vivid Sources and 30% by To The Level.

Manganese goes into BEVs and battery power storage for good technical and price causes. Formulations are more and more together with manganese in batteries, which is drawing MMC extra deeply into the battery minerals market, with its particular South African abilities able to be leveraged.

MMC, which has 400 direct workers and 200 oblique contractor workers, final yr earned South Africa R2.28-billion in export income, exporting primarily via the ports of Maputo and Durban, and paid R179-million in taxes.

Commerce & Industrial Coverage Methods (TIPS) senior economist Gaylor Montmasson-Clair describes MMC as a “South African industrial jewel” that might be many instances larger than its current dimension.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind firm that we should always help on its development trajectory. The corporate’s imaginative and prescient is totally aligned with the goals of the South African Renewable Vitality Masterplan and the industrialisation of renewable power and battery storage worth chains in South Africa,” Montmasson-Clair added in response to Mining Weekly.

TIPS is an impartial, non-profit, financial analysis establishment primarily based in Pretoria that was established in 1996 to help financial coverage growth, with an emphasis on industrial coverage in South Africa and the area.

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