Element 25 Limited (E25 or Company) (ASX:E25) is pleased to confirm the first commercial shipment of manganese concentrate has now been loaded with the ship departing the Utah Point facility at Port Hedland late on 14 July 2021. This is the first cargo to be shipped from the Company's 100%-owned world class Butcherbird Manganese Project (Project) located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
The ore will be delivered to the Company's offtake partner OM Materials (S) Pte Ltd (OMS), a wholly owned subsidiary of ASX listed company OM Holdings Limited (ASX:OMH) (OMH).
The historic loading of approximately 27,000 tonnes of high quality manganese concentrate a board the Ha ndymax size vessel Shakespeare Bay is the culmination ofan extraordinary achievement by both the construction and operations teams which have worked tirelessly to achieve this important milestone in the Company's journey to develop the Project as a globally significant producer of high quality manganese concentrate and high purity battery grade manganese sulphate (HPSM) in subsequent stages of project development.
At a ceremony today at Butcherbird, Element 25 Managing Director Justin Brown paid tribute to everyone who had worked on the project. "Today is a historic day for all the people who have worked tirelessly to bring this project to life, for Element 25 and for the Australian mining industry," Mr Brown said.
"It has been a testament to Australian ingenuity, persistence and hard work that Element 25 has managed to achieve this feat in such a short period oftimewith a Pre-Feasibility Study completed only 14 months ago.
After thousands of man hours, multiple layers of permitting, engineering drawings, contracts, financing activities, and a healthy dose of passion and toil Stage 1 of our project has come to life.”
Mr Brown expressed great confidence in the future and the permanence of the Project. "We fully intend for this to be the first step in a multi-stage growth journey for this world-class manganese project with the expansion of concentrate production as part of our Stage 2 plans to be followed by developing the processing infrastructure to produce battery grade Zero Carbon Manganese™ products for the Li-Ion batteries which will power the electrification of the global vehicle fleet."
The first trucks departed the Project on8 June 2021 containing the first manganese concentrate produced from the Project This material has been produced as part of the commissioning and ramp up of the Stage 1 processing plant which will produce a nominal 365Kt of high-quality manganese concentrate over a mine life of approximately 40 years prior to a proposed 3X expansion in Stage 2.
The Project team will now turn its focus to the next stages of the multi-stage development strategy of the Project including a Stage 2 expansion of the concentrate business followed by a Stage 3 development to convert the concentrate material into high purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPMSM) for electric vehicle (EV) batteries to power the global transition away from fossil fuel powered mobility.
Manganese is emerging as an increasingly important ingredient for EV batteries, with potential supply constraints for nickel and cobaitforcing battery manufacturers to look to high manganese cathodes to produce the vast amount of cathode material required bythe EV industry in coming years.
The Project is ideally placed to feed this potential demand, with advanced flowsheet development work undertaken in 2019 and 2020 confirming a simple, unique, ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure leach process for E25 ores which, when combined with offsets, will target the world's first Zero Carbon Manganese™ for EV cathode manufacture.
About the Butcherbird Manganese Project
The Butcherbird Manganese Project is a world class manganese resource with current JORC resources more than 263 Mt of manganese ore. The Company completed a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) with respect to developing the deposit to produce manganese concentrate for export to generate early cashflow with a modest capital requirement. The outstanding economics and low capital hurdle of less than A$17 million for the first stage of development has allowed the Company to deliver first production from the Project in only 14 months from the publication of the PFS.
The PFS also highlighted the Project has the potential for significant growth beyond the initial Stage 1 production volumes (thestudies examined the potential for a 2X and 3X expansion to Stage 1 within 12 months of initial commissioning) and the Company expects to expedite the expansion of the Project.
In addition to the concentrate export business, the Company has completed extensive research & development and laboratory test work into the production of high purity manganese products including battery grade manganese sulphate (HPMSM) and High Purity Electrolytic Manganese Metal (HPEMM). The work has highlighted that the Butcherbird ores are highly amenable to an ambient temperature, atmospheric pressure leach process, resulting in a very efficient extraction of the manganese into solution, the key requirement for the cost effective and sustainable production of HPMSM and HPEMM.
The Project straddles the Great Northern Highway and the Goldfields Gas Pipeline, providing turnkey logistics and energy solutions. The Company plans to integrate renewable energy into the power solution over time to target a zero-carbon footprint for the Project, which is expected to also reduce energy costs. A cleaner, lower carbon flowsheet and high penetration renewable energy will place Butcherbird at the forefront of sustainable high purity manganese production.
• Reported at a 7% Mn cut-off for the Measured and Indicated categories and an 8% Mn cut-off for the Inferred categories.
• All figures rounded to reflect the appropriate level of confidence (apparent differences may occur due to rounding)
Based on the results of the Pre-Feasibility Study completed in May 2020, E25 has published a Maiden Ore Reserve for the Project of 50.55Mt in the Proved and Probable categories.
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