If you’re not well versed on what makes for a good manganese project, you’re not alone. While mine boffins can spout all sorts of talk on what makes a good gold grade or copper grade, good grades of manganese are spoken of by about four people, and all of them at CEOs of manganese companies.
Heck, for most laymen, the term ‘manganese’ would be more likely be thought to refer to a Japanese animation style than a metal used in energy storage.
So if a manganese explorer wants to set itself apart, they’ve got to be a little more innovative. They’ve got to tell a story.
Manganese X (MN.C) told a story this morning, and it’s seen their share price jump 15%.
“This innovative metallurgical project is developing a process in order to produce a manganese concentrate to be utilized for production of Electrolytic Manganese Dioxide which is also known as EMD. EMD is a high value manganese product which is utilized within various applications especially for lithium ion battery cathode material for electric vehicles. Manganese is the critical link in the lithium ion storage chain” stated Martin Kepman, CEO and Director of Manganese X Energy. “The reason we refer to it as innovative is that the Company is focused on producing a cost effective, environmentally friendly concentrate for the lithium ion battery market which is currently in high demand within North America.”
You keep up with that?
MN’s last drill results didn’t set the world on fire (though, to be fair, few know a good manganese grade from a bad one at this point), so what they’re doing now, while they go back for another look, is focusing not just on digging for manganese, but on turning the manganese into something that the end user battery market will find attractive. In other words, don’t spend all day looking in the hole, while there’s good stuff going on in the warehouse.
The market likes this a lot (stock is up 15% today), and I do too, not because what MN can pull out of the ground isn’t important, and that how cheap they can pull it isn’t a big deal, but because a smart and inexpensive process to convert the manganese ore into something useful would make a low grade less of a boner killer.
And, should further testing find success in identifying better ore bodies, that’s just a cherry on top.
Further, there are other minerals in the MN heap, and they’re looking to figure out exactly what those are, and how much value they may have.
…this will enable the Company to measure in microns the various percentages of other minerals present on its property. We anticipate from SGS the QemScan test results within the next two weeks. With the commencement of QuemScan testing, Manganese X Energy’s metallurgical team will begin to assess the viability of integrating and upgrading specific processes such as floatation, gravity, magnetic and electrostatic separations, as well as, ore sorting techniques to produce high grade manganese concentrate while separating other minerals efficiently.
In addition, Manganese X Energy will be sending additional core samples from our Sharpe Farm and Moody Hill areas of our Houlton Woodstock Property in order to determine which mineralized zone of our three mineral bodies will be the most efficient and viable to process.
These are all good things, and further evidence of a company doing what it can to progress its deal properly.
Mindblowing? No. But definitely a progression. And the share price is holding up as a result.
MN isn’t alone in looking hard at how to add value to their manganese assets – and reduce prices for the end user. American Manganese (AMY.V) announced today they have signed an MOU with a lab at Iowa State University to “share an interest in collaborating in the exploration of electric vehicle (EV) battery materials recycling options from spent electric vehicle lithium ion batteries having cathode chemistries such as: Lithium-Cobalt, Lithium-Cobalt-Nickel-Manganese and Lithium-Manganese.”
Manganese is an important part of the whole lithium ion battery business, and it’s not produced in North America in anywhere near the sort of quantities that it should be. MN is hoping to quickly change that, and it appears advancing the processing of the mineral is gaining importance as a differentiator.
If you like lithium, and cobalt, and graphite, then you should be talking a sideways glance at manganese too, because as lithium ion demand increases (and as China becomes less desirable as a purchase point for it), all of those metals are likely to run.
— Chris Parry
FULL DISCLOSURE: Manganese X is an Equity.Guru marketing client, and we own stock in the company.