LOS ANGELES, January 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
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USA News Group - Further demand for high grade, high purity manganese may be driven by new technology thanks to breakthroughs like the new discovery by researchers that using a nanosheet of manganese dioxide increases the performance of lithium-sulphur batteries significantly.
Manganese companies watchful of development include Ferroglobe PLC (NASDAQ: GSM), Glencore PLC (LSE: GLEN), Anglo American PLC (LSE: AAL), and Maxtech Ventures (TSX: MVT) (OTC: MTEHF).
High grade, high purity manganese is used as a primary cathode material in lithium-ion manganese batteries or NCM batteries. The NCM formulation of batteries is the slated as the next generation of battery cathodes, after the lithium-nickel-cobalt-aluminum design (NCA) battery.
International miners that produce manganese have seen positive growth of global demand and price increases. Majors including Ferroglobe PLC (NASDAQ: GSM), a leading producer of manganese, Anglo American PLC (LSE: AAL), a large miner of manganese worldwide, and Glencore PLC (LSE: GLEN), a highly diversified company that produces significant manganese, have all moved to expand manganese resources this year.
Large producers are shifting to acquire existing manganese resources, while one junior mining company is advancing manganese resources in Brazil through near term production. Maxtech Ventures (TSX: MVT) (OTC: MTEHF) is moving to develop manganese with a prominent local distribution channel in place.
MANGANESE NANO TECH
One of the most promising battery technology breakthroughs comes from the University of Waterloo in Canada, where a team of researchers has found that using a nanosheet of manganese dioxide increases the performance of lithium-sulphur batteries significantly.
This boost has the potential to increase the range of an electric vehicle by up to three times for the same weight of lithium-ion battery.
The study brings the Li-S battery one step closer to realization.
In the model used in the research, the manganese dioxide nanosheet transforms the sulfur cathode used in the LI-S battery into a high-performance cathode capable of recharging over 2000 times.
Sulfur by virtue of its abundance, cheapness, and light weight make for an ideal battery material, but hasn't worked well because it dissolves easily in electrolyte solution. While there are various methods for stabilizing sulfur including the use of metallic titanium oxide, manganese dioxide nanosheets have been shown in this study to work much better.
This technology has been known since the 19th century, but sulfur science has taken a backseat in that time and this study gives the first real glimmer of hope for sulphur as a cathode material.
TECHNOLOGY DRIVING DEMAND
Industry experts see great applicability of this new technology in the fledging market of electric motorcycles.
Tripling the range of electric motorcycles eliminates one of the primary concerns -limited range- that potential customers harbor over electric motorcycles. If developers are able to extend battery life while keeping costs constant, the acceptance of electric motorcycles will get a huge boost.
And if this new technology goes mainstream, the demand for manganese to support is expected to increase in similar fashion to what has been witnessed with lithium and cobalt since Tesla's advances.
Currently about 90% of all manganese produced in the world is used in steel production. A potential steep increase in demand for use in EV technology could lead to a sharp upsurge in the price of the metal. Current investment in manganese mining infrastructure may lag behind production demand leading to steep price increases.
MORE DEMAND SPURS MINERS
Maxtech Ventures is a junior miner playing off of the momentum in manganese markets. Maxtech is focused two areas: building a vertical mining operation, selling its manganese into high growth markets focused on renewable energy and crop fertility.
As a Canadian-based mining company, Maxtech has a unique entry point; the company
has secured in excess of 540,000 hectares of potential high-grade manganese claims in Brazil and has an agreement to jointly explore manganese-specific projects with Brazil's Maringá Ferro-Liga S.A.
Brazil is expected to increase its demand for high purity manganese by 4.8% CAGR. That will translate to an additional demand of 227,000 tonnes for use in fertilizers.
It stands to reason that as a local supplier with a major distribution partner, Maxtech should benefit greatly from this demand.
Maxtech has set its sights on a direct opportunity to move to the cash flow stage by tapping the fertilizer market locally immediately, then increasing its resource capacity to answer the growing power cell and storage markets.
NMC IS JUST ONE MORE POSITIVE FOR GREEN ENERGY
While manganese-based batteries are not new to the industry, the model described in the current research can only accelerate demand.
Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) already form a major segment of batteries used in EVs. Tesla recently signed a five-year agreement with NMC battery researcher Dr. Jeff Dahn to help improve the technology and bring costs down. The EV divisions of other major car makers such as BMW, Chevrolet and Nissan are also keen on adopting NMC battery technology for their vehicles.
Bridging the gap in demand is the lucrative challenge for mining companies who can bring new supplies to the table in the near term.
Ferroglobe PLC (NASDAQ: GSM)
Ferroglobe PLC operates in the silicon and specialty metals industry in the United States, Europe, and internationally. The company offers silicon metals that are used in personal care items, construction-related products, health care products, and electronics, as well as used in the manufacture of silicone chemicals; silicomanganese, which is used as deoxidizing agent in the steel manufacturing process; and ferromanganese that is used as a deoxidizing, desulphurizing, and degassing agent in the removal of nitrogen and other harmful elements from steel. It also provides ferrosilicon products that are used to produce stainless steel, carbon steel, and various other steel alloys, as well as to manufacture electrodes and aluminum; silico calcium, which is used in the deoxidation and desulfurization of liquid steel, and production of coatings for cast iron pipes, as well as in the welding process of powder metal; nodularizers and inoculants, which are used in the production of iron; and silica fume. The company was formerly known as VeloNewco Limited. Ferroglobe PLC was incorporated in 2015 and is headquartered in London, the United Kingdom. Ferroglobe PLC is a subsidiary of Grupo Villar Mir, S.A.
Glencore PLC (LSE: GLEN)
Glencore plc engages in the production, refinement, processing, storage, transport, and marketing of commodities worldwide. It operates in three segments: Metals and Minerals, Energy Products, and Agricultural Products. The Metals and Minerals segment is involved in smelting, refining, mining, processing, and storing zinc, copper, lead, alumina, aluminum, ferroalloys, nickel, cobalt, and iron ore. The Energy Products segment activities include coal mining and oil production operations covering crude oil, oil products, steam coal, and metallurgical coal; and investments in ports, vessels, and storage facilities. The Agricultural Products segment engages in the farming, processing, handling, storage, and port facilitating of wheat, corn, canola, barley, rice, oil seeds, meals, edible oils, biofuels, cotton, and sugar. Glencore plc markets and delivers physical commodities sourced from its own production and third party producers to industrial consumers, such as automotive, steel, power generation, oil, and food processing industries. The company was formerly known as Glencore Xstrata plc and changed its name to Glencore plc in May 2014. Glencore plc was founded in 1974 and is headquartered in Baar, Switzerland.
Anglo American PLC (LSE: AAL)
Anglo American PLC is a global mining company. The Company has a portfolio of mining operations and undeveloped resources with a focus on diamonds, copper, platinum group metals (PGMs), and bulk commodities and other minerals. Its segments include De Beers, Platinum, Copper, Nickel, Niobium and Phosphates, Iron Ore and Manganese, Coal, and Corporate and other. De Beers is engaged in the diamond business. It holds interests in two copper mines: Los Bronces and Collahuasi in Chile. It has two ferronickel production sites: Barro Alto and Codemin. Its iron ore operations provide customers with iron content ore through assets in Brazil. It has metallurgical coal assets in Australia, and thermal coal assets in South Africa and Colombia. Under the Platinum segment, the Company has operations located in the Bushveld Complex in South Africa, with the exception of Unki mine on the Great Dyke formation in Zimbabwe. It holds interest in various other individual assets across the bulk commodities.
For a more in-depth look into MVT you can view the in-depth report at USA News Group: http://usanewsgroup.com/2018/01/21/manganese-potentially-the-most-important-energy-metal-needed-for-the-future-growth-of-clean-green-energy/
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