Perth-based explorer Bryah Resources is looking towards mining manganese in Western Australia, as it assesses development opportunities at the Horseshoe South manganese mine.
The company has locked in an exclusive one-year option to purchase the mining lease covering the historical Horseshoe South manganese mine and a further 154 km2 of manganese exploration rights to the adjoining ground in the Bryah basin, near Meekatharra, in Western Australia.
“The Horseshoe South manganese mine has been the largest manganese mine in the Bryah basin, producing about one-million tons of manganese ore, and we believe that there is potential to breathe life back into the old mine,” says Bryah Resources MD Neil Marston.
He notes that high-grade manganese of up to 48% was recorded in recent outcrop sampling at the mine and 215 000 m3 of manganese stockpiles are reported to remain on site, which the company is currently testing.
“Historical testwork on the stockpiles reported that a reasonable amount of manganese product grading 34% could be produced by screening the finer material. We are about to complete some trials, including using modern ore-sorting technology, to verify these earlier results in the coming weeks.”
Marston says the shallow manganese deposits and stockpiles at Horseshoe South already have “an excellent production history and the outlook for Bryah is extremely positive as the company aims to capitalise on a buoyant manganese market”.
“Since attending an international manganese conference in June, we have been approached by numerous consumers seeking manganese ore grading between 30% and 40%, so our strategy is to produce such a product by low-cost processing of the stockpiles.
Treating stockpiles has the potential to generate low-risk cash flow ahead of expanding mining operations across our project areas.”
He further states that the company has recently identified several new manganese prospects at Black Hill, Black Caviar and Devils Hill. “None of these new areas have been adequately evaluated, so the exploration team has been charged with drill testing them over the coming months. We are aiming at creating a pipeline of new deposits which could sustain manganese mining operations over several years.”
The most recent mining occurred between 2008 and 2011 when the Australian mining services and processing company Mineral Resources extracted more than 400 000 t of manganese ore.
Horsehoe South is located 1 km north of the privately owned Horseshoe Flats manganese mine, which started production in 2017.
“Manganese is a critical and irreplaceable element used in steel production and as a battery component, notably in electric vehicles. Manganese dioxide is used in regular dry cell batteries and the metal is also a major ingredient of lithium-manganese-oxide batteries.”
Marston says many global market commentators believe that manganese use in the new generation batteries will soar, noting that, therefore, “Bryah is well placed in these market conditions”.
Meanwhile, Bryah started reverse circulation drilling at its Aquarius copper/gold project in the Bryah basin last month. The company’s flagship Bryah basin project, which comprises 11 tenements over 720 km2, is surrounded by junior gold producer Westgold’s Fortnum mine, gold producer Superior Gold’s Hermes deposit and the closed Horseshoe Lights copper/gold mine.
The western boundary of Bryah’s landholding also borders Australian exploration company Auris Minerals’ Wodger and Forrest prospects, which have returned encouraging copper and gold intersections in recent drilling.