Euro Manganese (TSX-V and ASX: EMN; OTCQX: EUMNF) has been granted extensions of its exclusive resource development rights related to the Chvaletice Manganese Project in the Czech Republic. This is a projected manganese re-processing project that will be using existing mine tailings to produce high purity manganese, an essential battery material.
Euro Manganese’s wholly owned subsidiary Mangan has received notice from the Czech Ministry of the Environment that its exploration licences have been extended by three years to May 31, 2026. The first exploration tenure was granted in 2014, when exploration and evaluation work began at the project site.
The extension allows work to continue on all aspects of the manganese resource development, including the tailings extraction for the project’s Demonstration Plant, targeted to begin operation in the first quarter of 2022.
Euro Manganese is a battery materials company whose principal focus is advancing the development of the project, in which it holds a 100% interest. It entails re-processing a significant manganese deposit hosted in tailings from a decommissioned mine, strategically located in the heart of Europe, in proximity to several projected battery gigafactories.
New preliminary mining permit to 2026
The Ministry also granted Mangan a new Preliminary Mining Permit, also valid until May 31, 2026. The permit secures Mangan’s exclusive rights to the Chvaletice tailings resource and its right to conduct the project’s Final Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, which is expected to be completed and filed with permitting authorities in the first quarter of 2022. The existing permit was due to expire in 2023.
The opportunity to extend the Chvaletice resource development rights to 2026 was made possible by the Czech permitting agencies in acknowledgement of the potential benefits the project will bring, as well as delays and challenges that have been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Permitting agencies consulted with local communities on the extensions, and there were no objections to the granting of these rights.
Strong environmental credentials
What makes this announcement significant is the absence of stakeholder opposition to the project. At a time when greenfield development projects – whether they be mines, pipelines or forestry projects – are facing unprecedented opposition from local communities, activist groups and others over concerns about their potential social and environmental impacts, opposition has been notably absent over Chvaletice.
This reflects in no small part the company’s engagement with government, regulatory agencies and local communities. The project is expected to have demonstrable benefits to the locality, including eliminating a source of water pollution from the legacy mine tailings and creating high quality jobs.
The exploration licenses and Preliminary Mining Permit are expected to be superseded by mining leases and permits for the project, contingent on approval of the Final Environmental and Social Impact Assessment.
“Our project team has worked diligently to develop strong lines of communication and earn the trust and cooperation of regulatory agencies, community stakeholders and all levels of government,” said Euro Manganese CEO, Marco Romero. “The extension of our mineral rights by the Ministry of the Environment is clear evidence of the strength of the relationships and reputation that we have built, and the respectful and collaborative approach that governs all our dealings with stakeholders. Further, these extensions give us ample time to execute the project work against our ultimate goal of start-up, commissioning and commercial production in late 2024/early 2025.”
The Chvaletice Manganese Project continues to make steady progress as demand for high purity manganese picks up in Europe and globally.
Pilot plant re-start is continuing on scheduleThe restart of the pilot plant, which will provide small samples of high purity manganese products for prospective customers, is proceeding on schedule, Euro Manganese confirmed, with delivery of samples expected later this year.
Fabrication of the project’s Demonstration Plant is also well underway. The DP is designed to produce large-scale product samples for supply chain qualification purposes. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2022. Work is also advancing well on the project’s definitive feasibility study and Final Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, both also on track for completion in the first quarter of 2022.
In addition to supporting the EU’s goals of decarbonisation, electrification of mobility and creating a circular economy, the project brings local environmental and social benefits. As tailings from the decommissioned mine get recycled to produce battery-grade manganese, a longstanding source of water pollution will be eliminated, and high-quality jobs will be created for local communities.
In the context of the wildfires raging in Western North America, the recent floods in Germany, and the European Commission’s recent announcement of its plan to require all new cars to be emissions-free by 2035, the Chvaletice project stands out as the only choice for ESG investors into the EV/battery space who want exposure to manganese as a lithium-ion battery metal.