Preliminary exploration has uncovered two new manganese prospects at Bryah Resources’ (ASX: BYH) Bryah Basin project in Western Australia.
During May and June, Bryah conducted reconnaissance mapping and sampling at its namesake project, which covers 718 square kilometres.
A total of 28 rock chips samples were collected for analysis and returned high-grade manganese assaying up to 49.1% at the Black Caviar prospect.
Over at the newly identified Devils Hill prospect, 13 rock chips were collected and assayed up to 42.1% manganese.
Bryah managing director Neil Marston said the latest manganese results were “exciting”.
“Our field work to-date, has now identified several areas, which we think hold significant potential for mineral resources,” he said.
According to Bryah, there is no evidence of previous exploration at Black Caviar which is 6km from the Black Hill prospect.
Meanwhile, Devils Hill is immediately south of the historic Mudderwearie mine. Outcropping manganese has been mapped across 600m. Similar to Devils Hill, there is no evidence of previous exploration, although former owners cleared the land to create drilling access.
Bryah claims the Devils Hill prospect hosts the largest unmined manganiferous area the company has identified across the project to-date.
Once regulatory approvals have been gained, Bryah plans to begin drilling at Black Hill, Black Caviar and Devils Hill, with the program anticipated to begin “in the coming weeks”.
“Our goal is to test these areas as soon as possible with shallow drilling,” Mr Marston said.
“Our project is timely as the global demand for manganese is strong. Now is the perfect time for our team to be exploring for key manganese production opportunities on our ground.”
Copper-gold at Bryah
The Bryah Basin project has been found prospective for copper and gold as well as other minerals.
A ground-based moving loop EM survey was carried out over six copper-gold targets within the area in June, which confirmed the presence of conductors at all six targets.
Site preparation works will be conducted in anticipation of drilling beginning in the near future.
Additionally, a soil geochemistry survey is continuing over the Bryah’s tenement package to identify new copper-gold and manganese anomalies for follow-up.
Manganese in lithium-ion battery
Manganese is one of the minerals commonly used in lithium-ion battery formulas. The mineral is frequently incorporated in the battery’s cathode along with cobalt and nickel.
The commodity was commanding around US$2.03 per kilogram at the end of February, with 90% of manganese consumed by the steel sector.
Manganese is also used in fertiliser and water treatment applications.
Bryah anticipates global manganese demand will soar to 20 million tonnes this year, from 11Mt in 2009.
Analyst Roskill predicts the lithium-ion battery could have an influence on the supply and demand dynamics of the manganese market.
The manganese component at the Bryah Basin project was an unintended discovery with the company unearthing up to 49.5% manganese earlier this year while it was exploring for gold and copper.
Free-carried to revenue at Gabanintha
In addition to the positive manganese news at Bryah Basin, Bryah could be free-carried to revenue at Australian Vanadium’s (ASX: AVL) Gabanintha vanadium project in WA.
Bryah retains the rights to nickel and copper at the project and Australian Vanadium is investigating the economic viability of unlocking the base metal minerals as a by-product of its planned vanadium production.
As part of this investigation, Australian Vanadium posted a maiden base metals resource for the project of 12.5 million tonnes at 206 parts per million cobalt (0.02%), 659ppm nickel (0.066%) and 222ppm copper (0.022%).
When Australian Vanadium undertook bench scale trials it produced sulphide flotation concentrates comprising up to 6.3% base metals, with the concentrate containing up to 2.58% nickel and 1.70% copper.
At this stage, Australian Vanadium believes the base metals can be economically recovered, however, the company is still evaluating this avenue via a pre-feasibility study.