AMY finalizes Wenden manganese project
Produces EMM, submits findings to Defense Logistics Agency Metal Tech News – November 3, 2021
Last updated 11/2/2021 at 12:34pm
A pile of manganese ore in the desert near Wenden, Arizona, could provide a domestic supply of electrolytic manganese metal, an important alloy in stainless steel and a precursor to the manganese used in lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles.
Purchased by the U.S. government in the 1950s and 1960s, the Wenden Stockpile contains roughly 322,000 metric tons of material. However, this potential domestic source of manganese has been languishing in the desert for the past six decades due to the need for specialized processing methods to efficiently transform the low-grade ore into useful forms of advanced manganese material.
Toward the end of 2020, the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency awarded American Manganese Inc. a grant to investigate the viability of using a patented process to produce electrolytic manganese metal from a stockpile of manganese ore at Wenden.
After nearly a year of sampling and bench-scale testing, American Manganese successfully produced electrolytic manganese metal from Wenden stockpile material.
"Our lab-scale experiments over the last year have given us key insights into the Wenden Stockpile material, allowing AMY to develop a purpose-built material processing flowsheet, that we will report to the DLA," American Manganese President and CEO Larry Reaugh said in August.
Last week, the company submitted its final report to the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, signifying the completion of the Wenden Stockpile Reclamation and Advanced Material Processing project.
"The patented American Manganese process represents a significant opportunity for producing electrolytic manganese metal, electrolytic manganese dioxide, and potentially battery-grade manganese sulfate using as feedstock the 350,000 short dry tons of National Defense Stockpile material grading about 22% manganese located just outside Wenden, Arizona," according to the report.
Congressman Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, says these findings are good news for the residents of Wenden and the American critical mineral supply chain.
"At each step in the process American Manganese has been open and transparent on their work and is presenting a solution to transform the unwanted stockpile of low-grade material, long ago paid for by the U.S. taxpayer, into modern National Defense Stockpile material," said Gosar. "The U.S. remains 100% dependent on foreign EMM and we simply cannot remain dependent on foreign supply when electrolytic manganese metal is a designated strategic defense mineral. Advancing this project is a strong first step towards securing a durable American source of supply."
According to U.S. Geological Survey, China accounted for 90% of the manganese metal produced globally during 2020.
Defense Logistics Agency, which oversees the U.S. National Defense Stockpile, has electrolytic manganese metal listed on its 2022 stockpile acquisitions list.
American Manganese says its Wenden Stockpile pilot project achieved all identified milestones and the scoping study results indicate areas that would benefit from additional studies to achieve commercial-scale operation near the Wenden Stockpile.
"I believe there is value in processing the Wenden Stockpile material with AMY's patented process, and we are actively seeking continued collaboration on advanced materials reclamation with the DLA," said Reaugh.