Euro Manganese (ASX: EMN) has posted an updated resource for its Chvaletice manganese project in the Czech Republic, with the new resource now totalling 26.9 million tonnes.
The new resource now has more than 98% classified as measured and is 26.96Mt grading 7.33% total manganese and 5.86% soluble manganese and is based on drill results for 80 holes and 1,509.5 metres.
“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the 2018 drilling program and the resulting updated resource estimate for the Chvaletice manganese project where 98.3% of the resource was confirmed as measured,” Euro Manganese president and chief executive officer Marco Romero said.
“This milestone will provide a solid foundation for detailed planning of the tailings extraction and processing schemes, and drive the project economics in our upcoming preliminary economic assessment, which we current expect to release in early 2019.”
Mr Romero said an extensive metallurgical test work program had been undertaken during 2018 and the program has made headway into enhancing the Euro Manganese’s understanding of the deposit and building a viable flowsheet.
“By recycling the Chvaletice waste, we are targeting some of the highest purity electrolytic manganese metal and manganese sulphate monohydrate available in the world today, while setting the stage for compliance with very high health, safety and environmental standards,” he added.
Chvaletice hosts a “significant” manganese deposit within historic mine tailings.
Once Euro Manganese’s preliminary economic assessment has been completed, it plans to kick-off a feasibility study.
As part of that, the company is planning to design, build and commission a demonstration plant in the Czech Republic to provide potential customers with bulk product samples for evaluation.
Euro Manganese also plans to file for several regulatory approvals.
The company’s strategy is to produce ultra high purity manganese products for Europe’s burgeoning lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle sectors as well as specialty steel and aluminium alloy industries.
Manganese in lithium-ion batteries
It is increasingly likely that the lithium-ion battery nickel manganese and cobalt (NMC) cathode formula will comprise more manganese in the future.
Late last month, it became known that the world’s largest chemical company BASF was planning to up the manganese content while diminishing the cobalt and nickel within the cathode.
BASF plans to begin manufacturing the batteries in 2021.
At the time, Mr Romero told Small Caps the move was a “game-changing” step in the battery’s chemistry.
“By making efficient use of manganese, a metal that is more abundant and less expensive than nickel and cobalt, BASF may have achieved one of the most important breakthroughs in battery science since the discovery of NMC cathode chemistry,” Mr Romero added.