SMM10, March 12: it has been reported that the Australian Federal Government's North Australian Infrastructure Fund has agreed to conduct due diligence on a groundbreaking mining project in Western Australia that can use renewable energy-based power to provide cheap electricity to produce manganese metals.
The Government has recently announced a series of projects proposing the use of renewable energy to produce "green hydrogen" and export fuel to large Asian economies such as Japan and China, including the 15GW project in Pilbara (Pilbara), the newly announced 5GW project near Karbari and the plan for South Australia is to establish a 100 per cent renewable hydrogen economy. Another school believes that using cheap wind and solar energy to add value in Australia and then export "green metal" may be more economical because it overcomes the heavy cost of transporting hydrogen.
Pilbara's Butcherbird manganese project is one of them. At this year's energy and minerals conference in Perth, Element25, a project developer for listed companies, outlined the potential to use cheap wind and solar energy to meet 90 per cent of the project's energy needs and process ore into manganese, rather than simply exporting raw materials.
Justin Brown (Justin Brown), chief executive, said at the meeting that the company was seeking to mine 260 million tonnes of manganese, known as the Butcherbird project, about 100km south of Mount Newman. But with the current supply of natural gas, it cannot hope to add value such as refining. However, analysis by Advisian and others shows that mixing 50 per cent of wind and solar energy will provide competitive prices, while 90 per cent of renewable energy required by 100MW power plants will halve electricity costs and make them compete with Chinese refineries and "export renewable energy as a metal".
The company said it needed about 6.5 megawatt hours of electricity per tonne of metal-more than the average annual consumption of a house, so access to cheap electricity was crucial. Element25 said the combination of renewable energy with CSIRO's new "electronic win" technology could help Australia embed renewable energy into a wide range of refined products for export, including manganese, copper, lead, zinc and nickel. "this makes Australia a leader in renewable energy exports and will be a viable alternative / annex to hydrogen exports, which is currently a hot topic," the company said. "
Another product of the project will be high purity manganese sulfate for positive electrodes of lithium-ion batteries. On Wednesday, Element 25 announced that NAIF had completed a "strategic review" of the project and would now enter the due diligence phase of potential debt financing. "E25 provides NAIF with strategic assessment information detailing the benefits that the Butcherbird manganese project and its associated infrastructure will bring to local communities in the Pilbara region," the company said in a statement. E25 looks forward to working with NAIF to achieve successful funding for the world-class Butcherbird high purity manganese project, which is likely to benefit the local community in the coming decades. "
The company is also conducting its own pre-feasibility study and is looking for funding solutions for the project. "it is also worth noting that manganese has been identified as a key mineral in the Australian government's recent key mining strategy, heralding long-term demand for such important steel and battery raw materials."
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