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General Motors And Element 25 To Expand U.S. EV Supply Chain With Domestic Manganese Sulfate Production
Element 25 Limited (E25 or the Company) (ASX:E25) and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) announce an agreement for E25 to supply up to 32,500 metric tons of manganese sulfate annually, which will support GM’s annual production of more than 1 million EVs in North America.
Element 25 to supply battery-grade manganese sulfate (HPMSM) to General Motors’ (GM) USA Ultium Battery Plants; GM to provide US$85M Project Financing for E25’s Louisiana HPMSM Facility
- Element 25 Limited and General Motors LLC (GM) sign definitive agreement for the supply of battery grade high-purity manganese sulfate (HPMSM) for GM’s electric vehicle (EV) battery requirements.
- Element 25 to supply GM with manganese sulfate required to scale EV capacity in North America beyond 1 million units annually.
- Element 25 plans to build its first manganese sulfate facility in the U.S. which will process manganese from its Butcherbird mine in Western Australia.
- GM to provide US$85 million (~A$128 million) loan to Element 25 to build its facility in Louisiana.
Under the agreement, GM will provide E25 with a US$85 million loan to partially fund the construction of a new facility in Louisiana, USA, for production of battery-grade manganese sulfate – a key component in lithium-ion battery cathodes – starting in 20251. (Facility)At the facility, E25 will produce manganese sulfate by processing manganese concentrate from its mining operations in Western Australia. It is expected to be the first facility of its kind in the U.S2.
Element 25 Managing Director Justin Brown said: “E25 aims to be a leading source of high quality, vertically integrated, traceable and ESG-compliant battery material to the global electric vehicle industry and GM’s support does more than accelerate our strategy for HPMSM production in the United States. Together, we are creating a resilient and sustainable North American supply chain that will help introduce millions of customers to the performance and environmental benefits of EVs.”
GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, Doug Parks said:“GM is scaling EV production in North America well past 1 million units annually and our direct investments in battery raw materials, processing and components for EVs are providing certainty of supply, favorable commercial terms and thousands of new jobs, especially in the U.S., Canada and with free trade agreement countries such as Australia. The facility E25 will build in Louisiana is significant because it's expected be the first plant in the United States to produce battery-grade manganese sulfate, a key component of cathode active material which helps improve EV battery cell cost.”
Element 25 expects to invest approximately US$290 million to build the 230,000-square-foot facility. Site preparation is planned to begin in Q3 CY2023, and the plant is scheduled to open in 2025. The facility is projected to create approximately 200 permanent jobs when it is fully operational.
GM continues to strengthen its domestic supply base for EV production. In addition to manganese sulfate, GM has announced direct investments in lithium, nickel and other commodities, as well as cathode active material (CAM). GM and its joint venture partners are installing 160GWh of battery cell manufacturing capacity in the U.S., and its suppliers are onshoring production of permanent magnets and other EV components to North America. To date, these initiatives are creating thousands of jobs in states and provinces including California, Louisiana, Nevada, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, Ontario and Quebec.
Element 25 Limited (ASX: E25) operates the world class 100%-owned Butcherbird Manganese Project in Western Australia (Butcherbird), shipping high quality manganese oxide concentrate to partners in traditional steel related industries. Element 25 has developed an innovative, proprietary, low-cost flowsheet to convert Butcherbird manganese concentrate into battery grade high purity manganese sulfate monohydrate (HPMSM) to supply the global EV industry. Manganese sulfate is a precursor for battery cathode active material and critical in Australia, Europe and the USA. Element 25 aims to become an industry leading, world class, low-carbon battery materials manufacturer underpinned by the large, long life manganese resource at Butcherbird. Company information, ASX announcements, investor presentations, corporate videos, and other investor material in the company’s projects can be viewed at: www.element25.com.au.
General Motors (NYSE:GM) is a global company focused on advancing an all-electric future that is inclusive and accessible to all. At the heart of this strategy is the Ultium battery platform, which will power everything from mass-market to high- performance vehicles. General Motors, its subsidiaries and its joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety and security services, can be found at https://www.gm.com.
This article includes content from Element 25, licensed for the purpose of publishing on Investing News Australia. This article does not constitute financial product advice. It is your responsibility to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any information provided here. Please refer to our full disclaimer here.
Element 25 (ASX:E25, OTCQX:ELMTF) is a manganese-focused company with 100 percent ownership of the largest onshore manganese deposit in Australia, which is currently producing high-quality manganese concentrate. The company’s Butcherbird Mine in Western Australia is currently producing around 365,000 tons per annum. The company is advancing towards 1 million tons (Mt) per annum by optimizing its engineering processes. Element 25 (E25) has set the pace by getting up and running quickly.
Element 25 has also moved quickly to progress its ambitions to be a globally significant producer of ethical high-purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPMSM) for supply to the fast growing EV battery raw material supply chains. The company has signed a binding agreement with Stellantis NV (NYSE:STLA) to supply battery-grade HPMSM from E25’s proposed USA-based HPMSM processing facility. Stellantis has further completed its first US$15-million equity investment in E25 in July 2023 towards the development of a battery-grade HPMSM facility in the USA.Element 25 has also entered an off-take deal with General Motors (GM) to supply the car manufacturer up to 32,500 metric tons of manganese sulfate to support GMs annual production of more than 1 million electric vehicles in North America. Under this agreement, GM will provide an US$85-million loan to E25 to partially fund the construction of the new facility in Louisiana, USA, which will produce battery-grade manganese sulfate. Expected to be the first of its kind in the US, the facility will process manganese concentrate from E25’s mining operations in Western Australia to produce HPMSM.
Manganese is Building Momentum
Sales of EVs have exceeded 10 million in 2022 with market analysts expecting the momentum to continue in 2023 and beyond. It’s clear that consumers and automakers are embracing EVs worldwide, with gigafactories springing up across the globe to support the EV transition. Yet, EVs require significant materials to support the increasing demand.
Manganese is essential in manufacturing the nickel-manganese-cobalt cathodes EVs require and is the cheapest and most abundant material available. Additionally, nickel and cobalt have significant supply constraints, while manganese does not. The relative abundance and high value in the use of manganese as a cathode material has prompted automakers such as Tesla, Volkswagen and Stellantis to turn to high-manganese cathodes to satisfy their supply chain requirements.
Manganese also has strong existing demand for usage in steel, aluminum products and specialty alloys. There is no substitute for the element in steel. Mining companies focusing on this vital element are uniquely positioned to serve both established and emerging industries.
The Future has Always Been Electric
Element 25 is committed to delivering on its strategy of producing battery grade HPMSM for EV batteries to power the global transition away from fossil-fuel-powered mobility.
The advancement of EV batteries requires a vast amount of cathode materials. Put simply, nickel and cobalt supplies simply cannot meet projected demand for New Energy Vehicle (NEV) growth.
By 2040 it is estimated that 58 percent of new vehicles will be EV or hybrid.
As demand continues to rise, EV battery makers globally are choosing to adopt manganese-rich cathode designs for safer, more cost-effective battery solutions and E25’s high-purity manganese strategy is ideally placed to feed these surging markets.
Advanced flowsheet development work undertaken in 2019 and 2020 has confirmed a simple, proprietary leach process for E25 ores which, when combined with offsets, will target the world’s first zero-carbon manganese for EV cathode manufacture. Flowsheet optimization for inclusion in upcoming feasibility studies is ongoing.
Strong ESG Credentials
Element 25 understands the importance of an excellent environmental, social and governance (ESG) rating for serving the EV market, as this rating directly reflects on the companies it supplies. The company is working towards producing zero-carbon, high-purity manganese by leveraging sustainable technologies at every step in its process through its Zero Carbon Manganese campaign. This campaign includes sustainable extraction, using renewable energy, low-carbon processing and carbon offsets. Element 25 has partnered with Circulor to provide real-time insights into its ESG status.
Element 25’s Butcherbird Mine has a Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) compliant resource estimate indicating over 260 megatonnes of manganese ore. This significant deposit is Australia's largest onshore manganese deposit, with an estimated mine life of 42 years. The mine does not require blasting or dewatering, instead leveraging a simple mining and processing wash plant.
Importantly, Element 25’s board and management team has decades of experience across a range of key sectors including mining, legal expertise, mineral project development, corporate administration and operational excellence. The management team’s track record of success provides the company with a great platform to deliver on its planned milestones as E25 positions itself as a leading manganese player on the global stage.
- 100-percent ownership of Australia's largest onshore manganese mine – the Butcherbird Manganese Deposit – comprising more than 260 million tons (Mt) of manganese ore in JORC resources.
- Long mine life of 42 years using only 20 percent of the global resource, significant potential to expand with further drilling.
- Currently producing high-quality manganese lump concentrate for the steel industry.
- Multi-staged expansion strategy to increase concentrate production and move into downstream processing to produce high-purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPMSM) as electric vehicle (EV) fuel for lithium-ion batteries.
- Expansion plans to increase ore production to 1 Mt per annum well advanced.
- Off-take and funding agreement with General Motors (GM) to supply the EV manufacturer up to 32,500 metric tons of HPMSM annually to support GM’s annual production of more than 1 million EVs in North America.
- GM to provide US$85 million in project finance for the HPMSM facility in Louisiana, USA.
- Offtake and funding agreement with global automaker Stellantis NV (NYSE/MTA/Euronext Paris:STLA) includes recently completed US$15-million equity investment to fund HPMSM short and medium term project execution costs.
- STLA is now Element 25’s largest shareholder with a 10.2-percent shareholding.
- STLA has committed to offtake for 15 percent of HPMSM production from the Louisiana facility.
- Element 25 is led by a management team with decades of experience in mineral project management, corporate administration and international law.
Butcherbird Manganese Project
Located in Western Australia, the Butcherbird Manganese Project is presently producing manganese concentrate for the steel industry. The mine has already reached production and is now optimizing its process to improve output. E25 is working towards producing high-quality HPMSM for use in new energy markets.
- Australia’s Largest Onshore Manganese Deposit: The Butcherbird Project has a JORC-compliant total resource estimate of 263 megatonnes of ore at 10 percent manganese. The deposit has an estimated mine life of 42 years and the potential to increase drilling in the future.
- Four-stage Growth Strategy: Element 25 has established a four-stage strategy as outlined below:
- Stage 1 (delivered): 365 ktpa
- Stage 2 (2023): 1 Mt per annum by optimizing engineering processes
- Stage 3: Produce sustainable high-purity manganese.
- Stage 4: High-purity manganese sulphate with zero carbon footprint
- Positive Feasibility Study: A feasibility study released in 2023 confirmed the technical and financial feasibility of producing HPMSM at a Louisiana location for sale to local and international offtake partners. Aside from indicating a net present value of US$1.66 million, the feasibility study also showed an environmental impact that is significantly lower than incumbent producers.
- Focusing on an excellent ESG Rating: Achieving and maintaining a great ESG rating is vital to serving the EV market. Element 25 has partnered with Circulor to provide real-time tracking and insights into its ESG rating throughout the entire operation.
John Ribbons - Chairperson
John Ribbons is an accountant who has worked within the resources industry for over fifteen years in the capacity of company accountant, group financial controller or company secretary. Ribbons has extensive knowledge and experience with ASX-listed production and exploration companies. He has considerable site-based experience with operating mines and has also been involved with the listing of several exploration companies on the ASX. Ribbons has experience in capital raising, ASX and TSX compliance and regulatory requirements.
Justin Brown - Managing Director
Justin Brown is a geologist with over 20 years of experience in global mineral exploration and mining. He has been involved in the full spectrum of mineral exploration through to mining in a range of commodities. Brown has also held a number of board positions, including an executive role with Element 25 Limited since 2006. He has a strong track record of closing successful commercial transactions and brings a well-rounded set of skills to the management of the Company’s activities.
Sam Lancuba - Non-executive Director
Sam Lancuba is a chemical engineer with more than 40 years’ experience in the global fertilizer industry. Lancuba has worked in research and development, process engineering, manufacturing and management. Following 27 years at Incitec Pivot Limited, an ASX top 50 company, He has been providing expert consulting services for industry clients in Australia, New Zealand, USA, South America, Europe, India and China.
Fanie van Jaarsveld - Non-executive Director
Fanie van Jaarsveld is an experienced company director and has held numerous senior management and executive positions over a career spanning more than 40 years. With a demonstrated history of working in the mining and metals industry, van Jaarsveld is the managing director for OM Manganese which operates the Bootu Creek manganese mine in the Northern Territory and is highly skilled in mining, mineral processing and operational management. He has strong business development expertise and will be a key asset in achieving the company’s production targets at the current manganese operation as well as helping to guide the planning and implementation of the company's expanded production plans and the downstream production of HPMSM. van Jaarsveld has an ND in analytical chemistry from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology - Cape Town.
Sias Jordaan - VP Battery Minerals & Marketing Manager
Sias Jordaan has been involved in the stainless steel production and raw material supply markets as well as rare metals markets for over 25 years. Jordaan held various roles within BHP Billiton in South Africa, The Netherlands and Western Australia in the stainless steel, ferrochrome and nickel divisions. As a result, he has gained extensive experience in the procurement, marketing and logistics of various steel-making metals. Jordaan was also involved in the management team that commissioned the Ravensthorpe Nickel Plant. More recently he performed study work for Arafura Resources Ltd (2011-2015), specifically the Nolans Rare Earths Project located in the Northern Territory, including the study into a suitable offshore separation facility and the establishment of a Letter of Intent with a Korean-based partner. Jordaan has an accounting degree and is qualified as a chartered accountant in South Africa. He also holds a diploma in international logistics from the University of Navarra and is a licensed real estate and business agent in Western Australia.
Neil Graham - VP Battery Minerals & Development Manager
Neil Graham is a chartered chemical engineer with more than 30 years of international experience in the chemical and resources industries. His experience in greenfield and brownfield project development, driving operational change and delivering performance turnarounds has been gained in various managing director/general manager roles, across a breadth of organizations and locations. These roles have been European, Asian and Australian based with multi-nationals, such as Huntsman and Orica, and West Australian resources businesses.
Clint Moxham – General Manager Operations
Clint Moxham has joined the team as general manager operations. Moxham’s key responsibilities include statutory and operational oversight of the safe operation of the Butcherbird Manganese Mine, implementation and oversight of improved operational processes and continued improvement in plant preventative maintenance targeting improved run times to increase production. He is a vision-driven miner with a track record of delivering greenfield and start-up operations. Moxham has a reputation of safe operations with a career-long record of team management and mining operations success.
Ian Huitson - Study Manager
Ian Huitson is a mining executive with 33 years’ experience in executive, operational and technical roles in the manganese, chromite, gold, silver and nickel industries in Australia, Africa and Asia. Huitson has extensive manganese experience through roles as study manager at Shaw River Manganese (2012-2014), chief operating officer at Auvex Resources (2009-2011), group mining engineer at Consolidated Minerals Ltd (2005-2007) and resident manager at Consolidated Minerals’ Woodie Woodie mine site (1999-2005). In addition to the above, Huitson has executive management experience including roles as operations director and managing director at Monarch Gold Mining Company (2007-2009). Prior to this, he had 15 years’ experience as a mining engineer with WMC Resources, Dominion Mining/Plutonic Resources and the Walhalla Mining Company. He has a degree in mining engineering and is a fellow of the AusIMM. Huitson has completed multiple scoping and pre-feasibility studies throughout his career.