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  • Holds rights to Europe’s largest manganese resource
  • Situated in the heart of Europe’s electric vehicle and battery hub
  • Advanced project, nearing completion of permitting and feasibility study
  • Setting the stage to produce ultra-high purity manganese products by recycling waste
  • Manganese to be extracted from old mine tailings, with no new mining or waste generation
  • Solid ESG credentials and overwhelming support of local community

Euro Manganese [TSXV and ASX: EMN] is a battery raw materials opportunity situated in the heart of Europe, within striking range of several of the current and projected sites for mass production of strategically important electric vehicles batteries. Tesla’s Gigafactory in Berlin, located around 450km from the EMN tailings deposit, is to incorporate the world’s largest EV battery plant, with commensurate battery raw materials demand.

Euro Manganese is focused on the extraction of independently verified manganese from tailings, residue from historic mining activity in former Czechoslovakia. The company is well-positioned to become a strategic supplier of high purity electrolytic manganese metal (HPEMM) and high purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPMSM), both of which are essential ingredients for Europe’s lithium-ion car battery revolution and other high-technology applications.

EMN has successfully built and operated a pilot plant which confirmed that the manganese in the tailings can be extracted and converted cleanly and efficiently into battery-grade manganese products. The company initiated the project’s environmental permitting process in June of this year, after four years of environmental baseline and impact studies. Its proposed processing plant is to be sited immediately next to the tailings at Chvaletice and is designed to flexibly produce final, battery grade materials right on site.

Batteries are changing the world

At Tesla’s Battery Day, in September 2020, Elon Musk set out a vision which included the production of three terawatt hours per annum of EV batteries by 2030. That’s an ambitious plan given that the entire global lithium-ion battery industry produces around 2.7 terawatt hours per annum at the moment. But Tesla also said it would be mass-producing a new generation of zero cobalt batteries for their intermediate passenger vehicles, with cathodes that would be composed of one third manganese. This is potentially a game-changer for the high-purity manganese business, on top of already explosive HPM demand projections, driven by auto manufacturers like Volkswagen, Renault, Toyota, Kia, Nissan, BMW, GM, Jaguar, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Peugeot, Fiat Chrysler, Volvo, Hyundai and others, all of which already use manganese in their battery electric vehicles.

Tesla and other EV manufacturers want to make batteries that can reduce the cost of manufacturing and operating cars. HPM is the lowest cost battery raw material and offers the opportunity to reduce the cost and price of EVs, but to do this they will need access to high purity manganese in large quantities.

According to Benchmark Minerals and Roskill, China currently has a 93-97% market share in high-purity manganese (HPM) production. Demand for HPM is expected to increase rapidly over the next five years and European car and battery manufacturers are trying to secure strategic sources of HPM. The largest producer of HPEMM is located in South Africa and produces around 27,000 tonnes per annum. Euro Manganese plans produce around 50,000 tonnes of HPEMM per annum when it comes online, with the flexibility to turn two thirds of that into HPMSM to suit market demand.

Excellent geographical situation

Geographically, it is hard to see how the extraction and processing facilities could be better situated. The company’s Chvaletice project is hardwired into excellent infrastructure, including power, rail, highways, water and gas, and is within range of literally dozens of auto manufacturing facilities and battery factories in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Poland and further afield in Finland, Sweden, France and Belgium. This is really the heartland of European EV and battery manufacturing, with high anticipated demand for HPM going forward. Key to that demand are sustainability and traceability.

From an ESG point of view, Euro Manganese reports that feedback from local communities has been overwhelmingly positive, as the tailings are going to be extracted gradually and progressively reclaimed, with no new waste generation. After extraction of the manganese, the tailings will be washed and neutralised, placed on impermeable membrane and revegetated for long term productive land use. Chvaletice is polluted and the reprocessing of the tailings is expected to materially improve the environmental condition of the site.

Euro Manganese has completed baseline environmental baseline and impact studies, extensive metallurgical and engineering studies, along with a detailed quantitative and qualitative resource evaluation. EMN has reached the conclusion of three years of environmental studies, leveraging knowledge of a technical team that understands HPM extraction and how to sustainably achieve very high purity product specifications.

Sustainable supply chains for batteries

Euro Manganese is very alive to the emphasis placed on sustainable and traceable supply chains by EV manufacturers – something that featured prominently at Tesla’s Battery Day in September 2020.

The building of a demonstration plant is the key next step of the project, a seven-times scale-up version of the company’s existing pilot plant, which went live in 2018. The demonstration plant is designed to produce 32kg of HPEMM per day or 100kg of HPMSM per day. Some 55% of its annual production capacity has already been allocated under memoranda of understanding to five customers, for supply chain qualification purposes.

Euro Manganese is well positioned to benefit from the rapid growth in demand from European buyers of high-purity manganese output. Full scale production is anticipated in 2024, by which time we expect the EV manufacturing industry in Europe will have travelled a long way towards creating heavy demand for its output.

Stuart Fieldhouse

Stuart Fieldhouse has spent 25 years in journalism and marketing, including as a wealth management editor for the Financial Times group, covering capital markets and international private banking, and as an investment banking correspondent for Euromoney in Hong Kong. He was the founder editor of The Hedge Fund Journal.

Stuart has worked at CMC Markets, supporting the re-launch of its global financial spread betting and CFD trading platforms. He is also the author of two books on trading, published by Financial Times Pearson. Based in The Armchair Trader’s London office, Stuart continues to advise fund managers, private banks, family offices and other financial institutions.

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