American Manganese Inc (CVE:AMY) (OTCPINK:AMYZF) (FRA:2AM) revealed on Wednesday that the United States Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has awarded the company a grant to work on the US government's manganese ore stockpile located near Wenden, Arizona, with the goal of producing electrolytic manganese metal (EMM) for the nation.
The DLA manages combat logistics across all US Armed Services and oversees the US National Defense Stockpile (NDS).
The Surrey, British Columbia-based critical metals company said it has been awarded the grant to conduct tests of the Wenden stockpile to confirm the viability of using the company's patented hydrometallurgical process to recover electrolytic manganese metal from the stockpile.
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If successful, the DLA, together with American Manganese, will proceed to transform sub-economic manganese resources into a valuable source of EMM. The company said such an outcome would be in line with the DLA's acquisition plan for EMM, as well as President Donald Trump's recent executive order, aimed at addressing the threat to the domestic supply chain from “reliance on critical minerals from foreign adversaries,” while supporting the domestic mining and processing industries.
The project has strong support from members of the Senate and Congress. “The United States should never be reliant on an adversary like China for minerals critical to our national defense," Senator Martha McSally (Republican from Arizona) said in a statement.
"I have been working to bring America's crucial supply chain home from China and today's announcement is a positive step towards that goal. This grant is great news for both Arizona and our national security."
The sentiments were echoed by the Republican Congressman from Arizona.
"As a member of Congress, it is seldom that I see such a clearly amazing opportunity," said Congressman Paul Gosar. "The successful execution of this project could transform an unwanted stockpile of low-grade material, long ago paid for by the US taxpayer, into a NDS stockpile material (EMM). The US simply cannot remain dependent on Chinese supply chains - particularly when electrolytic manganese metal is a designated strategic defense mineral. The proposed project is a strong first step towards advancing a durable American source of supply."
Under AMY's proposed program for the Wenden stockpile, selected sample materials would be tested through a lab bench-scale testing campaign to provide proof of concept of a future modular pilot-scale testing facility. The company expects to start the work soon once details have been finalized with the DLA. The total program is expected to take about 47 weeks.
This is AMY's second project to gain support from the US government. The company’s focus on the recycling of lithium-ion batteries with its RecycLiCo patented process, ensured it was part of a team - which includes the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Idaho National Laboratory and Purdue University - formed by the US Department of Energy's Critical Materials Institute to advance recycling of electric vehicle battery materials.
"We are very excited that AMY has been chosen to work on the Wenden manganese stockpile," said American Manganese CEO Larry Reaugh. "We look forward to demonstrating that our patented process can deliver a material that is designated as strategic by the Pentagon, and is one of the materials covered by President Trump's new Executive Order declaring a ‘national emergency' regarding critical mineral development."
Manganese, which helps strengthen steel, is mined in South Africa, Australia and other countries. But to be used, it needs to be processed into alloys, and China produces 97% of one of those, manganese metal, according to CRU Prices, a commodities pricing firm.
Contact the author Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive