American Manganese Inc.: Pilot Plant Update and Year End Status Report
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 12/21/11 -- Mr. Larry Reaugh, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Manganese Inc. (TSX VENTURE: AMY)(PINKSHEETS: AMYZF)(FRANKFURT: 2AM) ("American Manganese" or the "Company") is pleased to report the recent progress advancing the Company's Artillery Peak Manganese Project as follows:
Pilot Plant Testing Successfully Completed
The pilot plant testing program performed by Kemetco Research Inc. (Kemetco) has been successfully completed. The work has confirmed the technical viability of the Company's patent pending hydrometallurgical manganese extraction and electro-winning circuit on a semi-continuous operation basis of the overall flow sheet. The process is designed to recover manganese from lower grade manganese resources in an energy efficient manner with low water use, thus providing significant environmental benefits compared to the conventional recovery process which is energy intensive based on high grade resources.
The pilot plant treated material from the Company's Artillery Peak resource situated at Mojave County, Arizona. Operation of the pilot plant produced high purity electrolytic manganese metal (EMM) of greater than 99% purity. Chilling the mixed sulfate/dithionate solution produced by the intermediate precipitation of manganese from the pregnant leach solution produced sodium sulfate / dithionate crystals that were further processed to produce anhydrous sodium sulfate. The mother solution from the chilling circuit was shown to have salt concentrations that were suitable for feed in a nanofiltration circuit. Operation of the nanofiltration unit using a commercially available membrane achieved 97% rejection of sodium sulfate and 95% rejection of sodium dithionate, thus producing clean water suitable for reuse in the process.
Solid/liquid separation testing conducted by Pocock Industrial showed that practical dewatering of the tailings can be achieved with a paste type thickener and pressure filtration following the multistage Counter Current Decantation (CCD) stages. Final tailings dewatered to a stackable low water content (33.6%) was achieved. Environmental testing confirmed that the solid residues are not acid generating.
Mass and energy balances on the anhydrous sodium sulfate and water recovery circuit were provided by Swenson Technologies Inc. As a result of their study, a more energy efficient sodium sulfate crystallization process option was identified which may provide further significant reductions in energy requirements for this circuit. Further work on this process option will be conducted in the feasibility stage.
The new process developed by Kemetco Research Inc., on behalf of American Manganese Inc., is shown to be significantly more energy and water efficient than previous work conducted by the US Bureau of Mines (USBM) some 30 to 60 years ago on the same resource material. In addition, the use of modern commercial equipment in a unique configuration has removed a significant amount of technical risk for the new process.
Kemetco Research is preparing the final report with data being forwarded to Tetra-Tech Engineering. Photographs taken during the course of the pilot trial can be viewed at http://www.amydata.com/data/Powerpoint/Pilot%20Plant%20Photos%20December%2020%202011.pdf.
Authorization for Storm Water Discharge Received from ADEQ
On November 21, 2011, the Company received authorization to discharge storm water associated with its industrial activities under the terms and conditions of Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's AZPDES STORM WATER MULTI-SECTOR GENERAL PERMIT(S), MSGP for its Artillery Peak Manganese Project located in Mojave County, Arizona. "We are pleased with the receipt of the authorization as our application was handled professionally and promptly, and represents our first step through Arizona's regulatory approvals process," says Mr. Larry Reaugh.
Strong Electrolytic Manganese Market Forecast by CPM Group
CPM Group (CPM) delivered, on December 5, 2011, an in-depth electrolytic manganese market study for the Company's Artillery Peak Manganese Project located in Mojave County, Arizona.
A few of the most salient report highlights include:
-- The worldwide demand for EMM is forecast to grow from about 1.5 million tonnes today to about 2.8 million tonnes by 2021. -- China's share of worldwide EMM demand is forecast to rise from 87% to 89% over the 10 year forecast period. -- China's share of EMM production is project to fall from 98% currently to 89.4% in 2021. By 2018 it is likely that China's demand will exceed its supply capability, and China would then become a net importer of EMM. -- Chinese industry consolidation/rationalization combined with the rising EMM production cost structure and depleting and degrading manganese resources, provides the basis for the level of price support required for building new EMM capacity outside of China. -- "Over the next 10 years real electrolytic manganese metal prices are forecast to average $1.98 per pound, reaching an annual high of $2.40 in 2021. This is nearly double the annual average price over the last 10 years."
Quoting directly from the report: "Between 2012 and 2021 real EMM prices are forecast to average nearly $2 per pound, which will support project development activities and provide incentive pricing for bringing new projects online to meet continued growth in demand." Mr. Reaugh goes on to say, "The depth and thoroughness of CPM's research establishes a solid benchmark for understanding the EMM market, and why the time for building the Artillery Peak Manganese Project has arrived."
The current National Instrument 43-101-compliant resource estimate of the Artillery Peak manganese deposit includes an indicated resource of about 220.9 million tonnes grading 2.84 per cent manganese (13.83 billion pounds contained manganese), and an inferred resource of about 56.3 million tonnes grading 2.84 per cent manganese (3.53 billion pounds contained manganese).
Mr. Reaugh says, "Kemetco's and CPM's contributions are vital technical components of the previously announced on-going preliminary feasibility study. The preliminary feasibility report commission by the Company is now scheduled for delivery around mid-February of next year."
Production of Electrolytic Manganese Dioxide (EMD)
Kemetco expects to begin production of EMD by mid-January. The EMD produced will be used to produce a lithiated manganese powder to be used in the battery industry.
About Kemetco Research Inc.
Kemetco Research Inc. is a privately owned contract research and development company specializing in extractive metallurgy, chemical processing and specialty chemical analysis. It was formed after the acquisition of the industrial process division of B.C. Research; which had been in operation for over 60 years as a research and development contractor in British Columbia.
About CPM Group (www.cpmgroup.com)
CPM Group is the world's premier commodities research and consulting company. The firm's primary focus is on precious, industrial, and specialty metals, in addition to undertaking research and analysis across all commodities markets. In the ferroalloy industry CPM Group has developed a top-rated expertise in molybdenum, vanadium, manganese and chromium, as well as other minor metals. CPM Group provides a suite of research and consulting services related to the financial management of commodities exposure, including fundamental market research and analysis, consulting and advisory services, commodities management and asset management services, and corporate finance advisory. Founded in 1986, CPM Group is known for its research and analysis of the metals markets, its overall economic analysis of commodities markets, and its expertise in financial engineering, using derivatives to structure optimized positions for commercial hedgers and institutional and high net worth individual investors.
China controls electrolytic manganese production supplying and producing 98% of the world's needs (3 billion pounds per year).
There is no substitute for manganese in steel (total manganese market greater than 33 billion pounds per year, fourth largest traded metal).
Manganese is the most critical metal at risk to supply and restriction in the United States as there is no U.S. 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.
China has a 20% export duty on EMM and the U.S. has a 14% import duty.
The current world price for electrolytic manganese metal is about $1.45 per pound, while the U.S. price is about $1.84 per pound.
About American Manganese Inc.
American Manganese Inc. is a diversified specialty and critical metal Company focusing on potentially becoming the lowest cost producer of electrolytic manganese from its Arizona Manganese Project.
This release has been reviewed by John W. Fisher, P.Eng., a qualified person pursuant to National Instrument 43-101.
On behalf of Management
AMERICAN MANGANESE INC.
Larry W. Reaugh, President and Chief Executive Officer
This news release may contain certain "Forward-Looking Statements" within the meaning of Section 21E of the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein are forward-looking statements that involve various risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company's expectations are disclosed in the Company's documents filed from time to time with the TSX-Venture Exchange, the British Columbia Securities Commission and the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The TSX-Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
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