The company aims to fill supply chain gaps for ultra-high-purity manganese products through its Chvaletice Manganese Project in the Czech Republic in the heart of Europe.
There has been much intent shown at national and Europe-wide levels in recent years for the continent to become self-sufficient in raw materials and value-adding.
A cleaner and greener Europe
This has intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic with one of the benefits of the associated lockdowns and restrictions being cleaner air due to less traffic and reduced industrial emissions.
As the general public and influential lobby groups push for a cleaner and greener Europe, the European Commission supported by the European Battery Alliance and European Investment Bank is intensifying its efforts.
Supported by increasing investment support from European financing sources and the commitment of mining companies and industry, the progress in that strategy can now be seen.
Plant under construction
Evidence of this comes with the construction by Umicore SA (EBR:UMI) (FRA:NVJP) (OTCMKTS:UMICF) of its first cathode materials plant in Europe.
This plant is being built by Umicore Rechargeable Battery Materials at Nysa in Poland, which is just 185 kilometres from the Euro Manganese’s Chvaletice Project with the progress being made evident in the below Umicore video.
From this plant Umicore will manufacture cathode materials for customers who produce rechargeable lithium-ion batteries with most of the materials to go into batteries for electric vehicles.
Manganese ‘under the radar’
As well as the need for lithium, which has been widely reported, manganese is another less publicised raw material that has a role to play in lithium-ion batteries.
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence states that manganese has flown under the radar compared to its battery raw material peers, yet its distribution of production capacity across the battery supply chain is just as precarious as the highest risk raw materials of lithium and cobalt.
In 2019, manganese was not mined in any significant quantities in the main jurisdictions for cathode, battery cell or EV production.
North America produced zero tonnes of manganese and Europe just fractional tonnes via a small operation in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, China only produced 6% of global total output relying on primary producers such as South Africa, Australia and Gabon.
However, when it comes to the all-important manganese chemical refining step, China refines 93%.
Filling supply chain gaps
This is where Euro Manganese believes it can play a role in helping fill supply chain gaps.
At Chvaletice, EMN is well progressed with feasibility study test work aimed at allowing the company to meet its goal to be the preferred European supplier of ultra-high-purity manganese products for the battery industry.
Chvaletice is western Europe’s largest manganese deposit, strategically located in the heart of Europe, amidst a major emerging cluster of electric vehicle, cathode and battery plants.
The company envisages a low-cost extraction method involving the recycling of manganese-rich waste with no hard rock mining or milling required.
EMN’s CEO Marco Romero recently joined Proactive’s Steve Darling to discuss the progress that the company is making.