TSX-V-listed manganese developer Giyani Metals Corporation has, through Mintek in South Africa, completed enhanced metallurgical test work and final process flowsheet design, as part of its feasibility study on the K.Hill manganese oxide project in Botswana.
However, because this phase of test work does not include crystallisation, a specialist engineering firm has been engaged to undertake crystallisation test work with a view to finalising the process flowsheet for the feasibility study and the demonstration plant.
Once the process flowsheet is finalised, Giyani will proceed to contracting an engineering firm for the construction of the demonstration plant.
Following a peer review of the process flowsheet, Giyani anticipates that the design-build contract for the demonstration plant will be signed with the objective for the plant to be operational in the first half of 2022.
Giyani CEO Robin Birchall says the demonstration plant will produce about 250 kg a day of final high-purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPMSM) product to share with potential customers for preliminary product testing. “We are already assembling interested parties.”
At Otse – the site of two historic mine workings, namely Otse North and Otse South – Giyani is conducting the first exploration drilling with a planned 56-hole reverse circulation (RC) drilling campaign, following up on targets identified with an induced polarisation survey.
Otse is located about 40 km east of the K.Hill project and is connected by a well-maintained, sealed road network. As such, any future production from Otse can easily be trucked to the location of the proposed process plant adjacent to the K.Hill project.
To date, 26 RC holes have been completed at Otse South, proximate to historic mine workings and defined by a chargeability anomaly trending northwest-southeast.
Nearly all holes drilled to date have shown visible mineralisation, confirmed by portable X-ray fluorescence analysis. From the holes analysed so far, the best results include 48% manganese oxide at depths between 29.5 m and 36.5 m and 54% manganese oxide between 18 m and 35.5 m.
“While our flagship project is being de-risked, initial results from Otse appear to confirm our expectations for significant further resource expansion, with some of the intersections offering truly spectacular grades,” Birchall says.
He notes that Otse has a different form of mineralisation to the K.Hill project and will not have the same uniformity, but that such high manganese oxide content will provide options to high-grade plant feed and blend lower-quality material to increase average run-of-mine grade.
Going forward, Giyani notes that a further 12 holes will be drilled at the southern target, before the two drill rigs move to Otse North, also proximate to the historic workings.
This campaign is expected to be completed in the next six weeks.
Meanwhile, in terms of commercial activities, Giyani has been in discussions with a number of original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs), other potential offtakers and trading groups about potential binding product purchase agreements.
This is in relation to Giyani’s operations in Botswana having the potential to supply in excess of 100 000 t of HPMSM for the manufacture of lithium-ion battery cathodes.
In terms of selling material, Giyani is currently engaging directly with a leading global automobile OEMs on material evaluation, including the delivery of representative samples.
In addition, Giyani has also signed a nondisclosure agreement with a major prospective European producer of battery cathodes for further product information sharing.
“The fact that major OEMs and cathode manufacturers are engaging with us now to share data speaks to their recognition of the quality of our projects and the critical nature of sustainable HPMSM supply,” Birchall enthuses.
He adds that, currently, only a very small number of companies outside of China produce HPMSM directly from ore, meaning Giyani will be a “valuable and important source of responsible, transparent and low-carbon HPMSM”.
Giyani also reports that it has been welcomed into membership of the European Battery Alliance – an association launched in 2017 to create a competitive and sustainable battery cell manufacturing value chain in Europe.