Element 25 Ltd (ASX:E25) has produced high-purity electrolytic manganese metal (EMM) in leach test work on ore from the company’s Butcherbird High Purity Manganese Project in Western Australia.
The initial sighter leach tests utilising Butcherbird ore produced about 13 litres of high-purity leach solution containing around 40 grams per litre manganese.
It is the first EMM to be produced from the project with all impurities being below acceptable limits for production of metal.
Electrolytic manganese metal composition with key impurities analysed by ICP-MS.
Two specialty products
Element 25 intends to produce high-purity manganese sulphate from Butcherbird for use in lithium-ion battery cathodes as well as EMM for use in certain specialty steels.
Butcherbird hosts Australia’s largest onshore manganese deposit with in excess of 180 million tonnes of manganese ore and is the focus of a pre-feasibility study (PFS) due for completion in mid-2019.
The tests were conducted on representative PQ diamond drill hole core samples from within the Yanneri Ridge resource area.
These were sub-samples of a larger bulk test sample comprising about 500 kilograms with this bulk sample currently being processed.
Sighter tests were completed with the intention of further optimising the front end of the Butcherbird processing flowsheet that has been developed in conjunction with the CSIRO.
After the success of the optimisation tests, the larger sample has been leached and is being taken through the purification process following which EMM and battery-grade sulphate samples will be produced.
This work is expected to provide sufficient samples of both products for despatch to prospective offtake partners.
The electrowinning phase of the test work was undertaken at the Murdoch University research laboratory operated by the Extractive Metallurgy division.
The Murdoch University research laboratory and team members.
It was carried out by the Metallurgical Process – Research, Development and Innovation (MPI) group headed by Associate Professor Aleks Nikoloski.
Element 25 has completed a positive scoping study with respect to developing the deposit to produce high purity manganese sulphate as well as EMM.
The PFS is expected to further confirm the commercial potential of the project.
Butcherbird straddles the Great Northern Highway and the Goldfields Gas Pipeline providing turnkey logistics and energy solutions.
The company is intending to integrate renewable energy into the power solution to minimise the carbon intensity of the project as well as further reduce energy costs.