The sources of manganese are very limited in Europe. One of these is found in the East Bohemian town of Chvaletice – a locality historically linked to the mining of iron, pyrite and manganese ores. It is the only primary source of manganese suitable for the battery industry in the entire European Union.
The manganese is contained in old waste in the Chvaletice-Trnávka tailings. The tailings were created as a remnant of pyrite mining at the locality from 1951 to 1975 to obtain pyrite concentrate for the production of sulphuric acid. The waste – flotation sludge – containing manganese, was pumped in its liquid form as waste into the tailings pile area where three waste piles were gradually formed.
According to surveys of the locality performed by MANGAN Chvaletice in 2014 and 2018, the tailings are composed approximately of 25 million tons of waste material. This waste contains 6.5% of manganese, especially in the form of carbonate minerals such as kutnohorite and rhodochrosite. Apart from manganese, no other elements significant for economic use are found in the tailings.
Today, manganese as a raw material is used predominantly in steel production. However, it is mentioned ever more often in connection with electric vehicles and their lithium-ion batteries which are based on NMC chemistry (nickel-manganese-cobalt). Alongside nickel, lithium and cobalt, manganese is one of the key elements for their production. The demand for manganese has been rising considerably with the development of sustainable energy sources and electromobility.
This is where we see an opportunity for an effective and purposeful use of the Chvaletice deposit.
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