Butcherbird Manganese

Butcherbird Manganese


The Butcherbird Manganese Deposit is Australia’s largest onshore manganese resource[1] comprising large tonnages of near surface manganese oxide ore in seven deposits.

ProspectTonnes (Mt)Mn (%)SiO2 (%)Fe (%)P2O5  (%)Al2O3 (%)
Yanneri Ridge
Inferred48.010.743.011.10.26210.7
Indicated22.512.043.811.60.29710.6
Inferred Resources
Richies Find22.710.944.811.60.2411.2
Coodamudgi16.511.042.912.50.2811.0
Mundawindi16.311.940.311.70.309.9
Ilgarrarie Ridge35.69.9446.012.50.3111.1
Bindi Bindi Hill14.410.445.510.10.2211.9
Bugdie Hill4.509.3445.413.20.3511.2
Cadgies Flat0.29110.046.211.10.2912.3
Total180.810.843.911.70.310.9

Table 1: Butcherbird Manganese project Mineral Resource Classification

 

The Project also has some excellent infrastructure advantages with a gas pipeline and main bitumen highway passing directly adjacent to and through the mineralised envelope.

The mineralisation occurs as supergene enrichment of a regional scale basal manganese shale which underlies much of the Project area. The shale beds are gently folded and where the folds approach the surface topography, supergene processes have significantly upgraded the manganese content to form a potential feedstock for further upstream processing.

 

BENEFICIATION POTENTIAL

The Company discovered the Butcherbird deposits during 2010-2011, and has subsequently undertaken several rounds of metallurgical test work which have shown that a high silica concentrate with approximately 33% contained manganese and low deleterious elements can be reliably produced through relatively simple processing methods[2]. This medium grade concentrate is suitable for use in the production of silico manganese alloys, a major manganese feedstock for use in steel making.

Building on further mineralogical characterisation work at CSIRO, a range of selected samples and beneficiation strategies were tested during the recent studies. Despite a range of processing streams, similar results were achieved to the historical work, and reconfirms the limited potential to further upgrade the ore. However, this concentrate has been used as the initial feed for the EMD production process test work, with highly encouraging results.

EMD TEST WORK SUCCESS

Early test work involving a range of hydrometallurgical options, including impurity leaching to generate a concentrate, and direct leaching of manganese, showed very encouraging results.  In particular, the first tests using selected reductive leaching, designed by CSIRO scientists, yielded excellent manganese leaching results, rapid leach kinetics (>95% Mn extraction in 30 minutes), and impressive selectivity over key impurities[3]. Subsequent work focussed on optimising the leach protocols and the confirmed that it is possible to achieve these results at atmospheric pressure and ambient temperature at coarse grind sizes without the need to add sulphuric acid for pH control.

 

 

ABOUT BATTERY GRADE MANGANESE

Industry observers expect the global electrolytic manganese dioxide market to reach USD 635.7 million by 2022 with a projected compound annual growth rate of 4.9% from 2015 to 2022. [4]

Growth in demand from the battery manufacturing industry is expected to drive projected demand curves as technological advancements in wind and solar power generation and the need for associated grid electrical storage systems expands.

Battery production is the leading EMD consumer with market share estimated to exceed 90% of global consumption. This demand is expected to continue to grow due to the current and expected future growth in the global electric vehicle industry, which in turn has a strong impact on battery demand. Manganese in the form of EMD is a key ingredient in several types of widely used battery technologies including Li-ion, alkaline and zinc-carbon, and the next generation lithiated manganese dioxide batteries, with cathodes comprising over 60% Mn compared to approximately 4% lithium.

In addition to the potential production of EMD, concurrent market research has also identified a range of other products with high value in use which may be considered for the processing of Butcherbird ores.  These include:

  • Electrolytic Manganese Dioxide (“EMD”).
  • Chemical Manganese Dioxide (“CMM”).
  • Electrolytic Manganese Metal (“EMM”)
  • Manganese Sulphate as a fertilizer and feed additive.

On a theoretical chemistry basis, all of these end products should be able to be produced from the PLS that resulted from the Stage I test work.

The test results have exceeded expectations and the Company has initiated discussions with CSIRO to commence Stage II investigations focussed on potential purification options for the PLS and subsequent production of end products for marketing and commercial studies.

[1] Montezuma Mining Company Ltd ASX release dated 17 October 2017

[2] Montezuma Mining Company Ltd ASX release dated 27 December 2014

[3] Montezuma Mining Company Ltd ASX release dated 6 June 2017

[4] http://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-electrolytic-manganese-dioxide-market