Tuesday’s announcement comes after A.I.S. recently said it had commenced manganese trading operations in Peru. In a June 20, 2019 press release, the company said a contract had been signed with a miner and a deposit paid to buy 2,000 tonnes of manganese ore with samples from the mined ore averaging 45% MnO (manganese oxide). At that time, the company said it was finalizing buyer contracts in China.
A.I.S. is aiming to be a low-cost producer of battery materials. Its focus is on lithium and manganese.
Manganese is a key ingredient used in the production of steel, aluminum and battery elements. Currently, steel production accounts for 85% to 90% of manganese consumption. The second largest use of manganese is creating an alloy with aluminum to produce a metal that is more resistant to corrosion. Most aluminum beverage cans contain about 0.8% to 1.5% manganese.
A.I.S. said manganese ore has recently been selling for US$233 to US$250 per tonne.
The company has said its near-term objective is to sell up to 10,000 tonnes of manganese ore per month by trading from small producers. Production will come from two Peruvian manganese deposits, the company said.
After this initial cargo of six containers per week for three weeks, A.I.S. said it will follow with 40 containers totaling 1,000 tonnes every week from the San Jorge deposit. “As mining progresses at other locations, this will be increased to our short-term target of 10,000 tonnes per month,” the company said.
Meanwhile, A.I.S. said it is also negotiating additional sales agreements for high-grade fines manganese products with several purchasers who will be receiving the trial shipments.
“Our Peruvian geologist and general manager are currently visiting three other mines in the Cajamarca area in Peru with the objective of adding lump manganese to the A.I.S. product line,” the company said.
“I am delighted we have completed loading the first six containers, and will be shipping manganese ore the week of July 28, 2019,” said A.I.S. President and CEO Phillip Thomas. “We are elated at the grade of the manganese fines ore our supplier has been able to produce,” he said.
Centamin analysis of the 150 tonnes showed an average assay of 49.4% Mn, Fe (iron) 0.95%, SiO2 (silicon dioxide) 2.4%, which is an excellent specification, the company said in a press release.
Aside from its manganese interests, A.I.S. said it is developing two significant lithium projects, covering 5,225 hectares in Argentina’s lithium triangle.