Manganese: New Markets in Battery Technology

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"A breakthrough from Stanford researchers contains the ability to produce electrical power from fresh and salt water."

A new and exciting market is opening for manganese that could provide the metal with explosive growth potential and diversification away from it ties to the steel industry. This market is essential to the future, from high tech consumer goods, to the automotive industry, and energy production. The future for manganese lies in battery technology. With the addition of manganese to lithium-ion batteries, energy density and recharge rates are improved dramatically. These factors can lower the cost of production making the economic viability of electric cars and a host of other technologies, a reality. Even more incredible is a breakthrough from researchers at Stanford that contains the ability to produce electrical power from fresh and salt water, which could provide clean, cheap energy for the world.

There is a factor that is important to consider before going forward; the difference between manganese and electrolytic manganese metal (EMM). China currently controls 97% of EMM production, it charges a 20% export tariff and the U.S. imposes a 14% import tariff, adding the shipping costs, makes North American producers of products using EMM at a serious disadvantage. The price for EMM from China is about $1.65/lb.; after tariffs, the price for North American consumers is roughly the price is $2.225/lb. Currently, there are no producers of manganese in North America. However, two companies are working on their deposits, the first being American Manganese, Inc. (TSX.V:AMY, OTCPK:AMYZF), which could be the lowest-cost electrolytic manganese producer in the world at $0.44/lb. compared with $0.98/lb. in China. The second company is Wildcat Silver Corp. (TSX.V:WS), which is working on its Hardshell property in Arizona.

This new technology will cost more in the short term due to development costs; however, by replacing cobalt with manganese, the materials' cost is far cheaper.

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