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June 20, 2022

Manganese - Ready To Take Over From Cobalt



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Manganese - Ready To Take Over From Cobalt

The EV battery industry is undergoing a paradigm shift that so far  has remained under the radar of most investors. The market share for Manganese-bearing NCM cathodes is expected to increase from 45% in 2020 to 75% by 2030. This is the consequence of the increasing presence of Manganese and its outright replacement of cobalt in EV battery cathodes. News releases by government entities, academia, and major multinationals highlight a trend that is already in full swing:

1) Samsung and Panasonic have announced their intention to gradually abandon the use of cobalt in Li-ion battery manufacturing.

2) By 2030, Roskill forecasts that 240 world battery mega-factories will be using manganese as their primary material.

3) The new Tesla 4680 battery, which is expected to go into production in 2022,  has a 33% Manganese cathode.

4) In June 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy released a blueprint to eliminate cobalt from domestic Li-on battery production by 2030.

5) A University of Texas study on a cobalt-free Nickel-Manganese-Aluminium (NMA) cathode demonstrated capacity performance  comparable to NCA and NMC cathodes, but with superior thermal stability.

This epochal shift is occurring due to the inherent advantages of Manganese:

Higher Affordability – A typical lithium-ion battery contains nearly 14 kg of cobalt. With a trading value of $2,500 per tonne, versus cobalt’s $70,000+ per tonne, Manganese is a significantly affordable alternative as a cobalt replacement. Greater Manganese use would result in increased profit margins along the production chain and reduced end-user costs, as cobalt represents 25% of total EV battery cost.


Better Supply Options – The DR Congo supplies approximately 70% of the world’s cobalt. Of this supply, up to 30% is derived from artisanal mines, which are known for abysmal working conditionsenvironmentally destructive mining methods, and the extensive use of illegal child labour. The consumption of cobalt poses serious challenges in terms of ethics, sustainability, and environmental impact. Manganese, thanks to its simple metallurgy and presence in developed jurisdictions such as Canada, allows it to be mined in safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly way.

Improved Performance – Manganese decreases the combustibility of EV batteries, which is problematic with cobalt infused lithium-ion batteries. In the case of Tesla, an increased Manganese component (from 10% to 33%) would boost the capacity of the company’s EV batteries by 400% and their power by 500%. Furthermore, although existing Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries are viable and cobalt-free, they suffer from low energy density and limited driving range.

Manganese is increasingly becoming the go-to metal for EV battery manufacturing. With this trend in place, securing safe and reliable sources of Manganese ore and high purity Manganese is becoming the number one priority of battery and automotive manufacturers worldwide. 



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