Mr. Larry W. Reaugh, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Manganese Inc. (“American Manganese” or the “Company”), (TSX.V: AMY; OTC US: AMYZF), is pleased to report the Company has filed its application with the US Patent Office for a provisional patent for the innovative robust energy efficient hydrometallurgical process for treating low grade manganese resources to produce high purity manganese metal and/or manganese dioxide; while minimizing potential environmental impacts.
Mr. Reaugh states that: “the process which has been designed to be energy and water efficient and address all processing concerns in regard to the environment will not substantially affect the economics of the project as envisioned in the previously announced NI 43-101 “Preliminary Economic Assessment”.”
The process is described in the report “The Recovery of Manganese from Low Grade Resources: Bench Scale Test Program Completed” prepared for the Company by Kemetco Research Inc. (“Kemetco”) of Richmond, British Columbia, dated July 1, 2010. The report confirms that the process can extract manganese at greater than 90% efficiency while minimizing water and energy use, and the potential environmental foot print. The conceptual process flow sheet developed from this testing program is based on a unique application of commercially available process equipment. In addition to production of electrolytic manganese metal a saleable anhydrous sodium sulphate by-product will also be produced.
Leaching studies performed on typical manganese samples of large particle size (greater than 9.5 mm) with SO2 leachant in stirred tanks indicates that the material is readily leachable. The material is friable and large particles break down easily during stirred tank leaching.
SO2 leachant is produced on-site by burning elemental sulphur with 20% excess air. At the contemplated feed processing rate of 3500 tonnes/day, heat exchanging the exhaust gases from the sulphur burner will produce an estimated 20 tonnes per hour of steam at 400oC and 45 bar pressure. In a condensing turbine this steam can produce 5 MW of continuous electrical power; sufficient to operate the extraction and by-product production processes.
The pregnant leach solution (“PLS”) is purified in two stages prior to precipitating the metal as manganese carbonate. Re-dissolving the manganese carbonate with recycled electrolyte produces a solution that is conducive to producing high grade manganese metal by electro-winning.
Water recovery from the manganese barren process solution can be achieved with high energy efficiency because of the unique solubility characteristics of the sodium sulphate remaining in solution. Sodium sulphate can be crystallized by cooling the solution to 0°C, and the water can be recovered via commercially available nano-filtration technology. This approach is significantly more energy efficient than standard evaporation as it avoids latent heat required for vaporizing the water.
Solid tailings with minimum water content are produced by filtration of the final CCD underflow material minimizing water requirements for the overall process. The solid tailings produced from test work were shown to be benign by the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (“TCLP”), and can be returned to mined-out areas of the open pit facilitating immediate progressive reclamation of disturbed areas.
China controls electrolytic manganese production (EMM) supplying and producing 97.44% of the world’s needs (2.6 billion pounds per year).
There is no substitute for manganese in steel (total manganese market greater than 30 billion pounds per year, fourth largest traded metal).
Manganese is the most critical metal at risk to supply and restriction in the United States as there is no US production. EMM’s greatest uses are the upgrading of specialty steel (47%), and the manufacture of aluminum alloys (32%) and electronics (14%).
China has a 20% export duty on EMM and the US has a 14% import duty, world price is $1.28/lb. and US price is $1.53/lb.
Manganese resources are declining in China.
The overall manganese market grew at 8% per year to 30 billion pounds up to 2008. EMM market grew at 26% per year from 2003 – 2008 to 2.6 billion pounds per year.
About Kemetco Research Inc.
Kemetco Research Inc. is a privately owned contract research and development company specializing in extractive metallurgy, chemical processing and specialty chemical analysis. Kemetco was formed after the acquisition of the industrial process division of B.C. Research. B.C. Research had been in operation for over 60 years as a research and development contractor in British Columbia, Canada.
About American Manganese Inc.
American Manganese Inc. is a diversified specialty and critical metal Company focusing on potentially becoming the lowest cost producer of electrolytic manganese from its Arizona Manganese Project.
This release has been reviewed by John W. Fisher, PEng, a qualified person pursuant to National Instrument 43-101.
On behalf of Management
AMERICAN MANGANESE INC.
Larry W. Reaugh
President and Chief Executive Officer