American Manganese Inc. is looking to keep its Artillery Peak
project in Arizona "intact and alive" amid a lull in both
manganese prices and investors interest in junior
The company is
negotiating lease payments for the Artillery Peak site but it
is struggling to attract serious financial interest in the
project, American Manganese president and chief executive
officer Larry Reaugh told AMM.
Low base metal prices
have deterred many investors from the mining sector, he said.
"Like all of our peers, the market is not coming forth with any
money for us. If you look at the TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange),
shares of all these companies are trading for pennies. Our
objective over the next year is to keep our project intact and
alive. I expect were at the bottom of the market now and
will see some improvements by fall."
Reaugh said he expects
it will be another two years before electrolytic manganese
metal (EMM) prices improve, which is partially why the company
is now focusing on the electrolytic manganese dioxide (EMD)
He said EMD prices are
currently higher than EMM prices, but the process of producing
EMD is cheaper and would require less infrastructure
development at Artillery Peak.
"We dont need to
make metal; we can make dioxide for the battery industry,"
Reaugh said. "It only takes a small amount of energy to produce
EMD, so that would save a lot of costs in prefeasibility on
supply installation, and we would have a reduction in free
agents used, a reduction in mining size, a reduction in overall
plant size. We see a good future for the project on the EMD
side, and maybe sometime when we see EMM reaching a point where
we could make money on it, we can bring in the extra
"The EMD market is one
of the fastest-growing segments," he added. "Cars like the
Tesla are spotlighting electric vehicles and showing that maybe
these things can be competitive in the market."
announced in August that it would focus on the production of
EMD for the lithium-ion battery market following a downgrade in
the economic feasibility of its Artillery Peak development
amm.com, Aug. 30). The Vancouver, British
Columbia-based company has subsequently identified "various
battery producers, certain car companies that use the
batteries, mining companies and financial institutions" for
potential investment in Artillery Peak.
"We havent had
anybody biting yet, but theres interest there," Reaugh
said. "We almost completed a deal about eight months ago with
an auto company that was building its own battery facility. At
the last minute, I guess the board of directors went in a
different direction with the type of battery they wanted."