Manganese X Energy: The Next Battery Generation
A lot of the excitement in the junior markets in the last few years has been about the “energy minerals” – graphite, lithium and, increasingly, cobalt. This excitement is driven by Li-ion battery technology which seems to be powering more and more of our daily lives.
Having high energy density batteries is a huge part of the equation for everything from electric vehicles to efficient mass storage solutions to get past the intermittency problems of wind and solar electrical generation. In the quest for higher energy densities and lower costs, materials scientists have tried many metal combinations: battery technology does not stand still.
Ever heard of electrolytic manganese dioxide? Neither had I until I spoke with Martin Kepman of Maganese X Energy (V.MN) and Rick Mills from aheadoftheherd.com. Nor had I been aware of the huge potential of lithium/manganese batteries.
Manganese is predicted to become a more than US$30B market in rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries by 2020 according to Taiyou Research.
“The problem battery makers have is that cobalt and nickel are expensive.” said Kepman. And new battery technologies using Lithiumnated Manganese Oxide turn out to have higher power densities at lower costs in a more stable environment.
“Plus,” added Mills, “Most of the cobalt in the world is from Africa and it is bought and processed by China.” Strategic metals are just that, strategic. In a complicated world relying on a single, overseas, source for any metal is risky. While there are North American prospects for cobalt, right now it is at risk.
So is manganese. “In North America there are no operating manganese mines or suppliers.” said Mills. “Worldwide China controls the supply of EMD.”
EMD is used for batteries, EMM, electrolytic manganese metal, goes into steel. In fact, you cannot make steel without it. Manganese is absolutely critical to a modern industrial economy.
At the moment there is no North American source of manganese. As Mills put it, “There is no viable manganese deposit in North America.”
Which makes Manganese X Energy’s Battery Hill New Brunswick deposit all the more interesting. “New Brunswick is a hotbed of manganese.” said Kepman, “Back in the 1950’s Sidwell came up with an estimated 40 million tons of potential manganese deposits. They were seeing an average grade of 9% manganese. Now these are historical estimates. But it seems to be a fair assumption that we will see 9-12% manganese and, say, 30 million tons. But, to start, we are going for 10 million tons with a significant exploration upside for the property.”
A quick look at the Manganese X website confirms that this historical work and the estimates taken from it have been updated to the 43-101 standards, “In early 2016, Perry MacKinnon Consulting prepared a National Instrument (NI) 43-101 Technical Report on the Manganese Occurrences within Exploration Licence 5816 located near Woodstock, New Brunswick. The purpose of the report was to provide a comprehensive independent assessment of the manganese potential of the Battery Hill property. The report reviews and discusses the results of both historic and current surface work along with drilling that was conducted in 2011. The recent fieldwork and drilling were supervised by Perry MacKinnon, P. Geo, who is a qualified person under the terms of NI 43-101.”
As well as the Technical Report, Manganse X on February 14, 2017 reported additional exploratory drilling on its property. In that news release Kepman stated, “We are very encouraged by the results of our initial drill program on the property, which confirmed significant thicknesses of manganese mineralization. The continuity, grade and near surface nature of the mineralization are all very positive. We are currently planning another diamond drilling program to better define the Battery Hill deposit and preliminary metallurgical test work to assess processing options ”
In our interview Kepman expanded on the metallurgy. “Bottom line is the metallurgical process. How do we process? That determines the CAPEX for the project. We are working with Kingston Metallurgical and other companies to get the right flow sheet.”
“We want to purify our manganese to a very high state.” said Kepman. “The manganese is found in bands with iron. We need to separate the iron from the manganese which is highly magnetized. In addition, our expert team is presently in the process of investigating some very innovative, economical, cost saving, environmentally friendly, processes which we anticipate will be very price competitive within the North American market”
Kepman is optimistic that Battery Hill will succeed. “Manganese price has increased 65% year over year. We need to prove we have what we say we have. We have the drill results and now we go on to Phase 2: a Preliminary Economic Assessment and an updated 43-101.”
More drilling is required but with demand for manganese increasing, so long as the metallurgy comes out right, Manganese X Energy is poised to become the sole North American manganese producer in the next few years. It would be an excellent position to be in.
At time of writing Manganese X Energy was trading at $0.21 with 41,185,420 shares outstanding for a market cap of 8.5 million dollars.
About Manganese X Energy
Manganese’s X mission is to acquire and advance high potential manganese mining prospects located in North America with the intent of supplying value added materials to the lithium ion battery and other alternative energy industries. In addition our company is striving to achieve new methodologies emanating from environmentally and geographically ethical and friendly green/zero emissions technologies, while processing manganese at a lower competitive cost.
For more information, visit the website at www.manganesexenergycorp.com.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
CEO and Director
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
This news release contains “forward-looking information” including statements with respect to the future exploration performance of the Company. This forward-looking information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements of the Company, expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks, as well as others, are disclosed within the Company’s filing on SEDAR, which investors are encouraged to review prior to any transaction involving the securities of the Company. Forward-looking information contained herein is provided as of the date of this news release and the Company disclaims any obligation, other than as required by law, to update any forward-looking information for any reason. There can be no assurance that forward-looking information will prove to be accurate and the reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking information. We seek safe harbor.