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More openness around bewildering IDC manganese decision would be most welcome

2nd February 2024

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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The decision of South Africa’s State-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to financially back a Canada-owned Botswana-based battery manganese facility rather than a highly accomplished South African high-purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPMSM) aspirant continues to bewilder.

The highly impressive South African concern this year celebrates 50 years of turning manganese waste into the world’s purest manganese metal, yet the IDC has seen fit to back a total newcomer to manganese beneficiation. The IDC’s explanation is that this is part of its strategy to help initiate the development of a battery minerals industry in Southern Africa. Why does that not include Mpumalanga?

The global demand for HPMSM is building up so strongly that several northern hemisphere importers of South Africa’s pure manganese metal beneficiated in Mbombela are already converting it into battery manganese themselves, to meet hungry electric vehicle appetite for HPMSM. Yet the IDC is not yet backing the country that owns it – and the only way this was found out was through an announcement made in Canada. More local transparency around this IDC funding decision would be most welcome.

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Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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