A day after securing the sale of the first parcel of material from its Butcherbird manganese project in Western Australia, Element 25 Ltd has signed a letter of intent with AK Evans Group Australia for transportation of manganese concentrate from the project to Utah Point in Port Hedland.
AK Evans is a privately owned construction, civils, heavy and bulk haulage company, founded in Port Hedland, with locations across Western Australia. AK Evans also has a strategic partnership with Kurtarra Pty Ltd, an 100% indigenous-owned earthmoving and services company.
The letter of intent will cover the initial transport arrangements – with haulage for the maiden cargo undertaken using agreed terms and rates – and the parties are in the process of finalising a long-term commercial arrangement, which will see the introduction of new quad road trains during the remainder of 2021, Element 25 said.
Element 25 Managing Director, Justin Brown, said: “We are excited to be partnering with AK Evans with a view to having new dedicated road trains to transport our manganese to Port Hedland. We are also excited to know we can work with our commercial partners in delivering solutions to fulfil our vision of delivering Zero Carbon Manganese™ for the electric vehicle (EV) battery revolution. This is another important milestone for the project and company, and we are excited to be heading for our first shipment of Butcherbird’s material to our offtake partners.”
On May 26, Element 25 announced the sale of the first parcel of material from Butcherbird to OMH under offtake agreement terms. The material in the contract specification is 30-35% Mn concentrate, with the first shipment planned for June 2021.
Last year, Element 25 completed a prefeasibility study on Butcherbird that outlined a start-up manganese concentrate export scenario as part of a staged development strategy. It outlined a maiden proven and probable reserve of 50.55 Mt at 10.3% Mn containing 5.22 Mt of manganese, with a base case assuming annual production and sales of 312,000 t/y of medium-grade lump manganese concentrate grading 30-35% Mn.
“The project team will now turn its focus to the next stages of the multi-stage development strategy of the project including a Stage 2 expansion of the concentrate business followed by a Stage 3 development to convert the concentrate material into high purity manganese sulphate monohydrate for electric vehicle (EV) batteries to power the global transition away from fossil fuel powered mobility,” the company said.
Element 25 says Butcherbird is ideally placed to feed potential demand, with advanced flowsheet development work undertaken in 2019 and 2020 confirming a simple, unique, ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure leach process for Element 25 ores which, when combined with offsets, will target the world’s first Zero Carbon Manganese for EV cathode manufacture.