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Manganese Gains Traction as Supply Stability, ESG Influence EV Production, Element 25 Exec Says
“When you’re looking to transition your whole car industry to electrification, you want to be sure that you’re not going to be subject to arbitrary government restrictions on the supply of certain raw materials, as we’ve seen from time to time with China,” said Justin Brown, managing director of Element 25.
As global electrification continues to ramp up, decision makers are increasingly paying attention to more stable and responsible sources of raw materials, particularly for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, according to Element 25 (ASX:E25) Managing Director Justin Brown.
“Stakeholders in the electrification of the vehicle fleet are looking for carmakers to use raw materials from areas that have tight controls on environmental and governance issues,” Brown said. “For example, if you source your manganese from Australia, you have a much better chance of understanding the standards that are applied to the extraction of the material, in terms of environmental and social governance, than you do perhaps in certain countries in other parts of the world.”
Element 25 owns and operates the Butcherbird project in Western Australia. Butcherbird hosts the largest onshore manganese deposit in Australia and began producing high-quality manganese concentrate in 2021.
The company's next step is building a high-purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPSMSM) facility in Louisiana, US, that it will feed with concentrate from Butcherbird in order to supply the EV battery market. Element 25 currently has offtake agreements with global EV manufacturers General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Stellantis (NYSE:STLA) for its low-carbon HPSMSM.
“It’s an exciting time for manganese,” Brown said. “You’re going to need especially more manganese as the battery chemistry shifts to more stable raw material supply chains, of which manganese promises to play a really important part.”
Watch the full interview with Justin Brown, managing director of Element 25, above.
Disclaimer: This interview is sponsored by Element 25 (ASX:E25). This interview provides information which was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by Element 25 in order to help investors learn more about the company. Element 25 is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this interview.
INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.
The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with Element 25 and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.
This interview may contain forward-looking statements including but not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, receipt of property titles, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements. The issuer relies upon litigation protection for forward-looking statements. Investing in companies comes with uncertainties as market values can fluctuate.
Australia’s Largest Manganese Resource Driving Multiple Growth Pathways Towards a Zero-Carbon EV Battery-grade Manganese Future
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.