Element 25: A high purity manganese play

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Element 25 is developing Australia’s largest onshore manganese resource. It’s a great investment opportunity. I caught up with Element 25 in advance of their appearance at this year’s Mines and Money to find out more.

Tell us a little bit about Element 25?

Element 25 is developing Australia’s largest onshore manganese resource at the Company’s 100% owned Butcherbird Project to produce high purity manganese products including Electrolytic Manganese Metal (EMM) and battery grade Manganese Sulphate (HPMSM) for use in specialty metals and lithium ion battery cathodes.

The Butcherbird Project hosts a very large JORC manganese resource (˃260Mt), is located in Western Australia, a Tier 1 jurisdiction, with very simply geology, low mining costs, favourable infrastructure and a pending maiden mining reserve covering the initial 50 year of production.

A Pre-Feasibility Study is due for completion in coming weeks and is expected to confirm the robust fundamentals of the project. Project permitting is well advanced and the as are off take negotiations to underpin project financing.

The operations will be initially powered with at least 50% renewable energy, which will drive down costs, and allow the production of cleaner, lower carbon premium products, sought after by end users.

What sets your mining company apart from others in the space? 

Element 25 is the leader in a small group of companies outside of China who are looking to take advantage of the strong macro fundamentals around high purity manganese. Unlike most manganese miners, who ship unprocessed ore to smelters in China, we will take our ore through a unique, environmentally friendly and lower cost flowsheet to provide a better, cleaner, lower cost alternative for consumers who want a cleaner more sustainable supply chain.  This applies to both traditional steel makers as well as new technology consumers in the automotive and battery sectors.

What opportunities do you see for the next 12 months? How is your company positioned to take advantage of them?

We plan to deliver the Pre-Feasibility Study shortly which will be followed by a pilot testing programme and flowsheet optimisation phase, and finally a Feasibility Study which will form the basis of project financing. This will place the company in the ideal position to initiate construction and enter the market in 2022 as a globally significant player in this growth market.

What is your rationale for attending Mines and Money?

The primary goal is to make investors aware of the opportunity presented by this unique project and robust strategy to take it into production. Once in production, the size of the resource base means that we will have a mine life measured in decades not years and we will have fantastic growth potential.

In a sentence, what do you think makes your company such a compelling investment?

A low cost, clean, robust production play in a Tier 1 jurisdiction in a commodity space that is poised to enjoy high demand growth in coming years through traditional end users, but also the  due to the new energy requirements of electrifying the global car fleet. High purity manganese is a key player in both markets and is an unrecognised opportunity for many investors.

Is the mining industry doing enough to meet the demands from investors to demonstrate ESG credentials? What does it need to do differently?

Mines need to revisit old ways of thinking to tap into the opportunities presented by developing cleaner, lower carbon production methods. In the case or metals produced through electrowinning such as manganese, but also copper and others, the advent of cheap reliable wind and solar energy makes it possible to produce these metals more cheaply and with a lower carbon footprint than ever before.  Miners really need to embrace the opportunities that this presents.

Electric vehicles have been a key driver of this commodity cycle. What opportunities will this create?

The metal demand from electric vehicles looks set to enjoy strong and potentially exponential growth in coming years/decades. This will have a meaningful impact on the demand for high purity manganese, but also nickel, cobalt and high purity alumina amongst others. Project producing to the right specification and with the right clean, low carbon intensity production methods should do very well.

Justin Brown is a speaker at the upcoming Mines and Money London, taking place 25-27 November at the Business Design Centre. 

Andrew Thake

Head of Content, Mines and Money