Manganese Market Hopes for Gains in 2014

In a recent update from Metal-Pages, European and United States manganese alloy markets are hoping to see some price increases in the first quarter, having ended 2013 with signs of support for the steel market. One source told the publication that ” [when] long-term contracts have all been settled, we expect US spot market buying activity to pick up as steel mills traditionally restock around the start of the calendar year.”

European ferromanganese prices have been pretty flat of late, while silico-manganese prices posted some slight gains. Meanwhile, 99.9% manganese flake FOB China was up slightly at $2,160 to $2,200 per metric ton.

Over in China, prices of electrolytic manganese have softened as some producers sell off inventory to ease tight finances. Electrolytic manganese flake 99.7% is down to  RMB12,700-12,800/tonne, down slightly from the previous month.

Ivory Coast aims to quadruple output 

New investments from the China National Geographic and Mining Corporation (CGM) have prompted the Ivory Coast to set its sights higher when it comes to manganese production. According to Ivorian state miner Sodemi, the goal is to increase manganese production to roughly 1 million metric tons of ore within three years — quadruple the current production.

In 2009 Sodemi signed a partnership agreement with CGM, and in April of 2013 extracted the first manganese from its re-opened Lauzouna mine. ”The programme is to reach 300,000 tonnes per year over the next two years then increase to 500,000 tonnes,” Kadjo Kouame, Sodemi’s managing director, told Reuters.

Once Lauzouna goes into production, the Ivory Coast stands to be able to produce 1 million tonnes of manganese per year from all sources, making it one of the top producers of manganese, an important metal for the production of steel.

The only producing manganese mine in the country is the Bondoukou which is owned by India’s Dharni Sampada Private Limited and it produced roughly 250,000 tonnes of manganese in 2012. Overall, the mine is said to host 3.2 million tonnes of proven reserves. Reuters reported that Dharni Sampada has also undertaken exploration at another project, Ziemougoula; however, it is currently awaiting further exploration permits.

The West African nation is pushing for development of its long-neglected mining sector in order to diversify the economy as it recovers from a decade-long political crisis.

Brazil peering underwater

Metal-Pages recently reported that Brazil is looking to take to the seas to explore for cobalt and manganese. The seabed is reportedly over 1,000 kilometers from the Brazilian coastline and spans 3,000 square meters of seafloor in the South Atlantic.

Brazilian state company Companhia de Pesquisa de Recursos Minerais (CPRM) submitted its exploration application on December 31 to the Kingston, Jamaica-based International Seabed Authority (ISA). According to ISA’s website, “The application area is in the Rio Grande Rise and the applicant has elected to offer an equity interest in a joint venture arrangement with the Enterprise in lieu of a reserved area.”

The officials will be reviewing the application, and meetings are scheduled for February 3, 2014.

 

Securities Disclosure: I, Vivien Diniz, hold no investment interest in any of the companies mentioned.