US manganese stockpile sampling begins
Testing potential of upgrading subeconomic ore to EMM supply Metal Tech News – December 9, 2020
Last updated 12/8/2020 at 4:44pm
American Manganese Inc. Dec. 8 reported that sampling of the United States government's manganese ore stockpile near Wenden, Arizona is now underway.
In October, the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency awarded American Manganese a grant to investigate the viability of using its patented process to efficiently produce electrolytic manganese metal, which is used in stainless steel and lithium-ion batteries designed for electric vehicles, from the ore in the stockpile.
"Manganese has been listed by the U.S. government as a critical mineral for which the U.S. is 100% import-dependent, and EMM (electrolytic manganese metal) is on the acquisition list for the U.S. National Defense Stockpile, so we are excited to demonstrate our process' ability to create a domestic supply of EMM," said American Manganese President and CEO Larry Reaugh.
Purchased by the U.S. government in the 1950s and 1960s, the ore stockpile in Wenden hosts roughly 322,000 metric tons of manganese. The Wendel stockpile, however, has lain dormant for the past six decades due to the need of specialized processing methods to efficiently transform the low-grade ore into useful forms of advanced manganese material.
Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., hailed the potential of American Manganese's process to upgrade a pile of subeconomic material into a domestic source of the manganese needed by America's military and public sectors as a win-win proposal.
"As a member of Congress, it is seldom that I see such a clearly amazing opportunity," said Gosar. "The successful execution of this project could transform an unwanted stockpile of low-grade material, long ago paid for by the U.S. taxpayer, into a National Defense Stockpile. The U.S. simply cannot remain dependent on Chinese supply chains – particularly when electrolytic manganese metal is a designated strategic defense mineral."
As the first step in unlocking the potential of this low-grade ore, American Manganese has engaged Primus Resources to collect and document 14 homogenous and consistent samples from the Wenden stockpile. The sample hole locations will be field marked with their global position fixed by GPS.
These 35-pound samples will be shipped to Kemetco Research Inc., a British Columbia-based extractive metallurgy tech company that helped develop American Manganese's patented hydrometallurgical process for recovering electrolytic manganese metal.
Following the receipt of the Wenden Stockpile sample material, it will undergo internal and external assays, followed by a laboratory bench-scale testing campaign to provide flowsheet proof of concept and process tailings characterization. A final technical report will be issued detailing test procedures and recommendations for a potential future processing facility.
"If enacted, this project will make Wenden the hub for American manganese for decades to come, building a high-tech metal processing facility, bringing many high paying jobs and may allow America to explore or produce other domestic manganese mining," said Gosar. "This is a big win for Arizona, a big win for the American people, and a major step toward ending their reliance on China."
The total program is anticipated to take about 47 weeks.