This week we talk to Marco Romero, CEO of Euro Manganese [TSXV and ASX: EMN]. It is a company we have been following closely, listed in Canada and Australia, which is working on a high purity manganese production resource in the Czech Republic.
On the Podcast
Euro Manganese’s Chvaletice project is now at a very advanced stage, and the company is in the midst of completing a feasibility study. An on-site pilot plant is in the process of being re-started while Euro Manganese begins assembly of a demonstration plant.
This no mining project – it involves reprocessing waste from an historic mine. Part of the plan entails a concurrent rehabilitation of the site, leaving it in a better environmental condition than it is today.
High purity manganese is used in lithium-ion batteries and is going to be an important component in the future production of EVs in Europe and further afield. Governments in Europe want to see their electric vehicle ambitions come to fruition, and this resource could play an important role in these plans.
Romero tells us that he expects Chvaletice to be the only primary producer of high purity manganese in Europe. On top of this, it is ideally located in close proximity to the battery factories which are going to be powering Europe’s green revolution. It is one of the few resources of its kind that is NOT located in China. It also conforms to demanding European environmental standards.
The European battery industry is the fastest growing in the world today. There are a multitude of large battery projects coming quickly to fruition across the region. A great deal of investment is being made into efforts to change an entire continent from reliance on combustion engines to batteries.
Euro Manganese well positioned to become the supplier of choice.
Romero outlines progress on the project on the podcast. He emphasises the attention to detail that has gone into designing a project that is acceptable to the local community, to the Czech government and to the EU.
He reports that the company is entertaining very serious expressions of interest in the output from the project, having already distributed samples to customers. Euro Manganese has signed five MOUs with customers but is also getting further expressions of interest. This is the logic behind restarting the pilot plant.
A much larger version of the pilot plant, which is seven times bigger than its predecessor, is shortly to be installed, and will be able to provide multi-ton samples to customers. Romero sees this as a critical step, because Euro Manganese is not yet a producer, and needs to ensure that potential customers are happy.
A number of downstream players have become active in procuring these materials as their future really depends on securing sources of raw materials. Nobody wants to see a complete stoppage of the supply of high purity manganese. Romero says he is now seeing much more concern around making sure supply chains are solid.
In Romero’s words, “These are truly interesting times, and we are in the right place at the right time.”