Euro Manganese Inc. (TSX-V and ASX: EMN; Frankfurt: E06), the Canadian company developing a manganese reprocessing project in the Czech Republic, said that it has received approval to reassign the land underlying its Chvaletice Manganese project for mining use. The Municipality of Chvaletice has also agreed to a long-term land rental arrangement to provide access to the project.
Despite the mining designation for use of the land, the project is actually not a mine. The Chvaletice plant, which will be located close to the Czech Village of Trnavka, some 90 kilometres from Prague, is being designed to reprocess tailings deposits from a decommissioned mine.
During its operations from the 1950s to 1970s, the mine created piles of waste that have been contaminating the local waters. Euro Manganese’s project intends to make these tailings its raw material, using them to produce high purity manganese, a metal needed in the making of the majority of electric car batteries.
At the same time as the project produces an essential battery raw material, it will clean up the source of water pollution and bring the site up to modern EU and Czech environmental standards.
Cost effective alternative to nickel and lithiumrapidly increasing demand for electric cars, metals used in EV batteries are becoming sought after and expensive. Consequently, EV makers like Tesla are looking for cost-effective alternatives to the traditional nickel and lithium and casting their eye on manganese. At a recent event marking the first production from Tesla’s new Gigafactory Berlin, chief executive Elon Musk said, “there is an interesting potential for manganese” as a cathode component of future Tesla vehicle batteries.
In the past, Musk noted that it would be relatively straightforward to produce a battery that is two-thirds nickel and one-third manganese, which “would allow us to make 50% more cell volume with the same amount of nickel.” In the meantime, most of the world’s major automakers have indicated that they intend to use manganese-based battery chemistries as they move forward with their electrification strategies.
Euro Manganese said on Thursday that the village of Trnavka, where 85% of the Chvaletice project’s tailings are located, has allowed the land underlying the project to be reassigned for mining use. The remaining underlying land falls under the authority of the Municipality of Chvaletice, just to the west of the project. The Municipality previously voted unanimously to approve the start of the reassigning process under its municipal land use plans. This process is progressing, and the company anticipates that the rezoning of the land that contains the tailings deposit used in the project will be formally approved for mining by the end of this year.
Euro Manganese president and chief executive Dr. Matthew James, said, “We are grateful for the continued support of our neighbouring communities, Chvaletice and Trnavka. Our team has worked hard to ensure that local community residents are well-informed, and that meaningful opportunities are created for them to participate in the evaluation and planning of the Chvaletice Manganese Project. Our goal remains to build long-term, respectful, and collaborative relationships, while ensuring that the Project fits seamlessly into the environmental, social, and economic fabric of the region.”
The local municipality has also given green light to the land access agreement terms by way of a rental of the land owned by Chvaletice. It has granted Euro Manganese access to almost 20% of the total land area needed for the project and approximately 15% of the total tailings area.
Under the terms of agreement, the company will pay an annual rent of CZK7.46 million (approximately CAD$420,000), adjusted for inflation based on the average annual Czech consumer price index.
The company is still discussing land access rights with the landowners who hold the remaining land underlying the project. So far Euro Manganese has received consent from all necessary landowners to conduct exploration activities and to access the site. Additionally, the company has also bought, has agreed to buy or has options to acquire all the land needed for its intended high-purity manganese processing plant site.
Euro Manganese’s long-term target is to become a leading, competitive and environmentally superior primary producer of high-purity manganese products in the heart of Europe.