American Manganese investigating production of manganese dioxide for Li-ion battery electrode materials
09 March 2012
American Manganese has retained Kemetco Research Inc. of Richmond, BC to undertake research in the production of an improved lithium manganese dioxide targeted for Li-ion batteries. Manganese dioxide is produced electrolytically (EMD, Electrolytic Manganese Dioxide) or chemically (CMD, Chemical Manganese Dioxide). The challenge is to produce the material that is free from any potential impurities.
While the company’s main product is electrolytic manganese metal (EMM), the hydrometallurgical process developed by Kemetco provides an opportunity for the production of ultra-high purity manganese dioxide for use in lithium-ion batteries. The Kemetco process avoids traditional steps (grinding of the resource followed by roasting) that are known to introduce impurities to battery-grade lithium-ion battery material.
A successful outcome to the research will add a secondary source of revenue to the company; production can be integrated as an adjunct to the Kemetco hydrometallurgical process.
This project will begin next week. During the first 3 months, the project will focus on the production of high-purity EMD and CMD from American Manganese’s Artillery Peak resource. Research on lithiated materials will take place in months 3 to 6. Months 6 to 12 will focus on producing test batteries and optimizing the final products.
Kemetco Research is a privately owned contract R&D company specializing in extractive metallurgy, chemical processing and specialty chemical analysis. Kemetco was formed after the acquisition of the Industrial Process Division of BC Research. BC Research had been in operation for over 60 years as an R&D contractor in British Columbia, Canada.
Manganese is a critical metal at risk to supply and restriction in the United States as there is no US production. EMM’s greatest uses are the upgrading of specialty steel (74%), and the manufacture of aluminum alloys (12%) and electronics (2%). Electrolytic manganese dioxide (EMD) for the battery industry is expected to be the fastest-growing segment of the manganese market. American Manganese Inc. is a diversified specialty and critical metal company focusing on potentially becoming the lowest cost producer of electrolytic manganese metal from its Arizona Manganese Project.