Archer Exploration (ASX: AXE) has announced confirmation that manganese from its Jamieson Tank project in South Australia can make electrolytic manganese dioxide (EMD), a critical component in the manufacture of lithium ion battery cathode material for electric vehicles.
The resources company today reported that metallurgical test work conducted on a composite drill sample sourced from the project was completed by Canadian independent laboratory Kemetco Research.
The test work involved the leaching of manganese from the drill sample, purification of the leach to remove iron, cobalt, nickel and other unfavourable elements and finally, the precipitation of the EMD onto graphite cathode and titanium anodes.
According to Archer, results showed the Jamieson Tank manganese was capable of making an EMD product with a manganese content of more than 92%, which is the standard required for alkaline and lithium ion batteries.
Archer executive chairman Greg English said the company was excited by the results, given EMD’s “high value applications in emerging and established battery technologies”.
“This is consistent with our expanding exploration portfolio focus on advanced materials and reliable energy storage technologies,” he said.
Jamieson Tank manganese project
Archer’s 100% owned Jamieson Tank project is located near Cleve in South Australia, next to the company’s Carappee Hill and Waddikee graphite projects. The southern end of Jamieson Tank is within 2km of the site of Carappee Hill’s proposed Sugarloaf graphite processing facility.
According to Archer, the drill sample provided to Kemetco had a head grade of 12% manganese, which is a lower grade than direct shipping manganese. However, as Jamieson Tank manganese is low in iron and other impurities, it makes it suitable for EMD production.
In addition, more than 11,000m of drilling was completed by previous owners and Archer said it expected to announce a JORC-compliant maiden manganese exploration target in the coming weeks.
EMD is a high value manganese product that is used in the manufacture of cathodes of lithium ion, alkali and other types of batteries.
Manganese has traditionally been a component in steel alloys, although the battery applications of EMD is the fastest growing sector in the commodity’s production.
According to Archer, the global EMD market has been forecasted to grow by around 6.34% per year from 2018 to 2022, with the United States being the largest consumer.
As well as lithium ion, EMD is critical for cathodes in modern alkaline and sodium batteries and in new battery technology developments such as the zinc-manganese battery, which has been touted as the replacement for the eco-unfriendly lead/acid automotive starting and lighting market batteries.
Archer shares were up 19.2% on the news by midday trade on Monday.