Manganese: An Unsung Hero

July 28, 2009

 

Source: IMnI

 

Global manganese alloy production in 2008 amounted to 13.62 million tonnes, an increase during the year of 2.4% year-on-year. SiMn accounted for well over half of alloy production, followed by high-carbon FeMn, and refined FeMn (which accounted for around 8% of total production).

 

Source: IMnI

 

In the first quarter of 2009, however, manganese ore production slipped some 29% (year-on-year), while the quarter's figure for manganese alloy production indicates a decrease of 34%.

Of pure manganese metal, China is the largest single producer and dominates the market. In 2008, the country produced some 1.13 million tons, of which only 0.24 million tons were exported. (Even back in 2007, China's capacity to produce electrolytic manganese metal was 35 times greater than that of South Africa, the world's second-largest producer of the metal.)

 

Manganese Miners

Except in Brazil, China and India, the pattern is for all manganese to be mined by a small number of very large companies - essentially monopolies or duopolies - in a small number of mines in the countries in which they operate.

 

Major Manganese Ore Producers

Country Producer
Australia Consolidated Minerals Limited
Groote Eylandt Mining Company Co Pty Ltd (GEMCO)
Brazil Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (Vale)
China Guangdong Luoding Xinrong Mengkuang
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Daxin Manganese Mine
Hunan Dongfang
Taojiang, Xiangtaoyuan
Xiangtan Manganese Mine
Gabon Eramet Camilog
India Manganese Ore India Ltd
Mexico Compaia Minera Autln S.A.B. de C.V.
South Africa Assmang
Samancor Manganese
Ukraine Marganetsky GOK
Ordzhonikidzovsky GOK

Source: USGS

 

Whereas, historically, ferroalloy (for example, both manganese and chrome) production was predominantly situated in either the steel-producing countries or those that actually consumed the alloys, it has, more recently, migrated to those countries that produce the ores themselves.

This has certainly been the case in China. However, the country is now not only a big producer both of FeMn and SiMn from its own ore resources (and, last year, consumed 65% of domestic manganese ore doing so), but is also a major producer of the alloys from imported ore.

In 2008, China was the world's largest manganese ore importer, and such imports accounted for 40% by volume of global trade in the ore. Last year, 30% (2007: 46%) of these imports came from Australia and 26% (2007: 20%) came from Gabon. Imports from Southeast Asia increased to 12% of the total from 4% the previous year.

 

Some Major Manganese Ferro-Alloy Producers

Country Producer FeMn FeMn SiMn
HC MC LC
Brazil Companhia Vale do Rio Doce
China Eramet
Erdos EJM Manganese Alloy Co
Henan Anyang Xinxin Ferroalloys
Hunan Ferroalloy Group Company Limited
Jinzhou Nichiden Ferroalloy Company
OM Holdings Qinzhou Plant
Shanghai Shenjia Ferroalloys Co Ltd
Xiangtan Manganese Mine
Zunyi Ferroalloy (Group) Co Ltd
Japan Mizushima Ferroalloy Co Ltd
Nippon Denko
South Africa Assmang
Semancor Manganese
Transalloys
Ukraine JSC Nikopol Ferroalloys Plant
Zaporozhye Ferroalloy Works

Source: USGS

 

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