The Artillery Peak district in Arizona hosts a world class deposit of Manganese, and American Manganese Inc. (AMY) has developed a patented extraction process that produces high purity products with one of the lowest operating costs in the world.
The current price of electrolytic manganese metal (EMM) has fallen from a $1.54 world price to $1.17 in the last year. The import price of electrolytic manganese dioxide (EMD) in the United States has averaged $1.14/lb. over the past three years according to statistics published by the USGS.
The compelling reasons for EMM production, as described in the pre-feasibility study, are still in place today:
a) China controls the production of EMM at more than 98% of world production;
b) The free world requires 30% of that production; and
c) China is consolidating EMM production for internal consumption, and is expected to be a net importer by 2018.
The pre-feasibility technical report contains the same manganese extraction studies that would be required for evaluating either EMD or CMD (chemical manganese dioxide) production scenarios. On a per pound basis, EMD/CMD contains 40% less manganese than EMM (see attached illustration). The immediate result would be smaller size project facilities leading to
much lower capital costs. Operating costs would also be substantially reduced as EMD electro-winning uses only 20% of the electrical energy required for EMM electro-winning; while CMD production needs no electro-winning at all.
The Company has just successfully produced a rechargeable lithium-ion battery prototype from CMD produced from Artillery Peak manganese resources. The new objective of Management is to investigate the obvious economic advantages of exploiting EMD and CMD production scenarios. The Company is looking to add rechargeable battery expertise to its management and board of directors to support this effort.
The Artillery Peak hydro-metallurgical manganese extraction process eliminates the introduction of extremely small amounts of metallic impurities that the current commercial processes can introduce. For lithium manganese batteries this is a critical factor as such impurities can lead to battery failures.
Additional R & D testing of the Artillery Peak Product could place AMY’s deposit and process at the front of queue for rechargeable battery powder demand. As the demand increases for lithium, the demand for EMD/CMD will correspondingly increase as these products make-up 60% of lithium manganese rechargeable batteries.
Furthermore, the United States currently imports high grade manganese fines from Gabon and South Africa to produce EMD, which places the nation at the mercy of very unreliable