Our strategy is simple. It consists of exploring for and developing our Battery Hill manganese deposit in New Brunswick because we believe manganese will be one of the key materials in what Taiyou Research has predicted will become a more than US$30 billion market in rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries by 2020.
In short, manganese is one of the minerals that will drive the future and enable widespread adoption of renewable clean energy and electric cars.
Manganese demand will rise as it is increasingly picked for use in the rechargeable batteries used to power consumer electronics, electric and hybrid electric vehicles and the battery systems that store electricity harvested from clean energy produced by solar, wind and tidal systems.
Pollution and climate change are key drivers for the global adoption of clean renewable energy. Widespread adoption has been held back because of two major factors: the lack of economically efficient storage batteries and the high cost of solar installations. Over the last decade that has changed and we are now on the threshold of widespread global clean energy rollouts. According to British newspaper The Guardian, the cost of solar power installations has dropped by 70% since 2009.
Driven by the demand for a safe, efficient and economical rechargeable battery for consumer electronics, the Lithium-ion battery, which offers a low cost economically efficient solution has been developed. It is now being chosen to store energy for electric cars and to provide electrical storage for home, office block and electrical utilities.
There are currently six types of Lithium-ion, Li-ion, batteries on the market. Two of these, the Lithium-ion manganese dioxide, battery, LMO, and the Lithium manganese cobalt battery, LMC, are staking out ground as market leaders.
They are gaining ground for the following five reasons: safety, a better ability to tailor electrical output for the end user, a longer lifespan, a shorter recharging time and much better economics. The cost of manganese is currently around $1.00 a pound while the cost of cobalt, its chief competitor, is roughly $14.00 a pound.
3M has its own patented NMC battery, based on work done by Dr. Jeff Dahn at Dalhousie University. This battery is also being built by LG Chem and used by General Motors in the Chevy Volt and in its other electric cars. It is also used in the Nissan Leaf and in the BMW i3.Tesla has recently hired Dr. Dahn for a five year period to research reducing battery costs. The market is there. Electric car production crossed the 1,000,000 car threshold, during September 2015. Volkswagen, Porsche and Mercedes are all developing electric cars. Every major car manufacturer has at least one electric car on the drawing board and some are determined to produce an electric version of each model they produce. Except for Tesla, car manufacturers are using Lithium Manganese batteries to power their vehicles.
Navigant Research has recently forecast that the market for Lithium-ion car batteries alone will go from US$7.8 billion in 2015 to US$30.6 billion in 2024.
The market for storage or utility batteries, those batteries used to store clean energy generated by the wind or sun is also expected to rise quickly. Siemens, General Electric, British multinational National Grid and Duke Energy, the largest electrical and gas holding company in the US have all chosen Lithium-ion batteries.
Research firm IHS has predicted that the energy storage market will grow to US$19 billion by 2017.
Global investment in clean energy increased to US$ 270 billion during 2014. China led the way with US$ 89 billion in new money for renewable energy followed by the United States at US$51 billion. Warren Buffet has invested US$ 1 billion in clean energy and Bill Gates has invested US$1 billion of his own money and US$2 billion through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Clearly, the market for manganese is going to be transformed by the demand for Lithium Manganese rechargeable batteries.
Currently, the fabrication of stainless steel accounts for 90% of all manganese produced. As battery demand increases, that will change. The United States has designated manganese a Strategic Metal because of its use in military hardware. In Europe it is called a Critical Metal.
There are no operating manganese mines in North America. As manganese demand ramps up the advantages of sourcing manganese in North America will fuel interest in junior mining companies exploring for it in North America. Key to the demand for North American manganese will be supply security within an uncertain geopolitical framework.
China, for instance, the second largest producer of manganese in the world has recently imposed a 20% export tariff on the metal in an effort to keep its manganese at home.
The top three producers in 2014 were South Africa, China and Australia. South African manganese is not the best grade for battery production.
Chinese manganese carries an ethical stigma because of the working conditions its miners endure and the pollution it produces. People want to buy an electric vehicle and invest in solar energy because it is the right thing to do. Using Chinese manganese will create a brand stigma that won’t wear well.
Manganese X Energy Corp. intends to provide a secure ethically sourced manganese supply by exploring and developing its manganese rich deposit near Woodstock New Brunswick, the Battery Hill Project. The Fraser Institute has recently called New Brunswick one of the best mining jurisdiction in Canada, a country known to be mining friendly.
Bryan Way, in his Master’s Thesis on the Woodstock area manganese occurrences, reports that the area “hosts a series of banded iron formations that collectively constitute one of the largest manganese resources in North America, approximately 194,000,000 tonnes”.
The Battery Hill property consists of 55 claims totalling 1,228 hectares located in Carlton County, New Brunswick. It encompasses all or part of five manganese zones, Iron Ore Hill, Moody Hill, Sharpe Farm, Wakefield and Maple Hill.
In 2010 and 2011 when Lithium-ion batteries became the growth driver in the battery industry, junior miners exploring and developing lithium, graphite and cobalt deposits saw an average return of 407%.
Given that more and more battery makers are using manganese to reduce battery costs, improve safety and build a better product it only stands to reason that environmentally friendly manganese miners will profit accordingly.
Value added products provide a better return on investment and Manganese X Energy Corp intends to profit from this by refining the manganese from Battery Hill into three distinct products with three distinct cash flows.
Electrolytic Manganese Metal, (MMM,) used in the production of aluminium, stainless steel and alloys, Electrolytic Manganese Dioxide, (EMD,) used in the cathodes of Lithium Manganese and Lithium Cobalt Manganese rechargeable batteries and Granulated Manganese Sulfate which is used as a fertilizer.
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