Richard (Rick) Mills
Page 2 of 2
Aside from iron manganese is the most essential mineral in the production of steel. You can’t produce steel without adding 10 to 20 lbs. of manganese per ton of iron. Which makes manganese the fourth largest traded metal commodity.
Both Canada and the United States have numerous and vast iron ore deposits, yet neither country produces manganese.
Fact - Manganese is a strategic mineral essential for the economy and defense of the United States.
Fact - Manganese cannot be sourced in adequate quantities from reliable and secure domestic suppliers.
Fact - There is no substitute for manganese, as a matter of fact manganese has itself become a substitute in certain alloy applications.
Security of supply
Many minerals were recognized as critical and strategic almost a hundred years ago (manganese was identified among them). Some - referred to as the big four, the top tier or the metallurgical achilles heel of the U.S. - are more critical than others.
Chromium, cobalt, manganese and the platinum group metals (PGE) - are the basic building blocks any nation needs for its economic foundation.
The U.S. is dependent on South Africa, the politically unstable Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) and an increasingly unreliable and aggressive Chinafor over half of its supply of what it considers strategic or critical minerals.
“As resource constraints tighten globally, countries that depend heavily on ecological services from other nations may find that their resource supply becomes insecure and unreliable. This has economic implications – in particular for countries that depend upon large amounts of ecological assets to power their key industries or to support their consumption patterns and lifestyles.” Dr. Mathis Wackernagel, President of the Global Footprint Network
Critical materials, especially the ‘big four’ - chromium, cobalt, manganese and the platinum group - are the metallurgical Achilles’ heel of our civilization. Accessing a sustainable, and secure, supply of these raw materials is going to become the number one priority for all countries.
So why have I singled out manganese? Out of all the strategic or critical minerals I could of talked about I choose manganese. Yes, it’s been considered strategic for a century because of its use in steel making and alloys but something else is up with manganese that you, an intelligent well informed ahead of the herd investor should know about.
“the country (U.S. – editor) is devoid of any electrolytic manganese production, importing it all from — you guessed it — China, with lesser amounts from South Africa…
It is important to be clear we are talking about electrolytic manganese, not ferro-manganese or silico-manganese, which are produced in the US from manganese ores imported from Gabon, but mostly supplied as ferro-alloys imported from South Africa, China and elsewhere. Electrolytic manganese is used as an alloying element in aluminum and copper alloys, as a colorant in bricks, and combined with lithium or nickel in batteries. Indeed, its use in lithium-ion manganese batteries is its fastest and potentially most challenging application — if the US cannot access competitively priced and reliable supplies of manganese, a host of high-tech new applications will be lost to foreign competitors.
Although manganese has been used for years in conventional batteries, its use in the newest generation of batteries for electric vehicles is likely to grab the most attention.” Stuart Burns,U.S. Facing Supply Risk for Electrolytic Manganese Metal
Current tensions between the United States and China highlight the need for security of supply regarding the materials and minerals the U.S. considers strategic and critical.
A strategic or critical material is a commodity whose lack of availability during a national emergency would seriously affect the economic, industrial, and defensive capability of a country. Manganese has met this criteria for over 100 years.
In its 2011, Critical Materials Strategy Report, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) focused on materials used in four clean energy technologies:
- wind turbines - permanent magnets
- electric vehicles - permanent magnets & advanced batteries
- solar cells – thin film semi conductors
- energy efficient lighting - phosphors
The DOE says they selected these particular components for two reasons:
- Deployment of the clean energy technologies that use them is projected to increase, perhaps significantly, in the short, medium and long term
- Each uses significant quantities of key materials
The DOE defines “criticality” as a measure that combines importance to the clean energy economy and risk of supply disruption.
A Report by the APS Panel on Public Affairs and the Materials Research Society coined the term “energy-critical element” (ECE) to describe a class of elements that currently appear critical to one or more new, energy related technologies – batteries certainly fit in here.
For the last couple of decades energy researchers have focused on capturing power from renewable sources and making our existing electric infrastructure as efficient as possible. Energy storage is the last vital piece, the still missing third link needed to wean the global economy off fossil fuels and enable widespread adoption of renewable clean energy and electric cars.
We know the United States has long considered manganese a strategic material. We know the U.S. has no production of its own - instead relying on others to supply Mn ore and value added manganese products.
We also know energy storage is critical for renewable integration and electrification of the energy infrastructure. So, shouldn’t manganese suddenly becoming an “energy-critical element” be on all our radar screens?
Is manganese on your screen?
If not, it should be.
Richard (Rick) Mills
Richard lives with his family on a 160 acre ranch in northern British Columbia. He invests in the resource and biotechnology/pharmaceutical sectors and is the owner of aheadoftheherd.com.
Legal Notice / Disclaimer
This document is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase or subscribe for any investment.
Richard Mills has based this document on information obtained from sources he believes to be reliable but which has not been independently verified.
Richard Mills makes no guarantee, representation or warranty and accepts no responsibility or liability as to its accuracy or completeness. Expressions of opinion are those of Richard Mills only and are subject to change without notice.
Richard Mills assumes no warranty, liability or guarantee for the current relevance, correctness or completeness of any information provided within this Report and will not be held liable for the consequence of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained herein or any omission.
Furthermore, I, Richard Mills, assume no liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage or, in particular, for lost profit, which you may incur as a result of the use and existence of the information provided within this Report.