Mar 19, 2021

Boosting European EV battery raw material supply chain with support of high-purity manganese project

This week, EIT InnoEnergy announced its support of Euro Manganese’s Czech-based Chvaletice Manganese Project, helping fulfil ambitions to create a competitive and sustainable battery cell manufacturing value chain in Europe.

In addition to an initial investment of €250k, EIT InnoEnergy will help Euro Manganese secure financing for full-scale commercial development up to €362m for the commercial development of the Chvaletice Manganese Project. EIT InnoEnergy will also help Euro Manganese secure customer offtake agreements by leveraging its network of industrial partners, including the European Battery Alliance (EBA), for which it runs the industrial development programme.

The news follows a 12 March, 2021 announcement from European Commission Vice-President, Maroš Šefčovič that a €900m partnership is to be established between Horizon Europe and the EBA to foster research and innovation in the battery sector. Following a ministerial meeting of the EBA that included EU ministers and the European Investment Bank (EIB), Šefčovič said: “The EIB’s involvement is decisive here to de-risk raw materials projects, leverage additional private money and effectively, to close the estimated financial gap of 15 billion euros by 2025.”

In the same meeting, Šefčovič tasked EIT InnoEnergy with creating the ‘EBA250 Academy’ to help bridge the emerging battery value chain skills gap by upskilling and reskilling citizens. With several large-scale industrial projects coming online over the next few years, Europe is expected to become the second largest battery cell manufacturer in the world, creating 800,000 direct jobs by 2025.

The Chvaletice Manganese Project is the only sizeable manganese resource in the European Union, with the potential to provide up to 50% of projected European demand for high-purity manganese for batteries in 2025, and 28% of anticipated 2030 requirements. As such, the project represents a milestone moment for the European automotive industry, which is looking to reduce the risk of potential critical raw material supply disruptions.

Euro Manganese CEO, Marco Romero, explains: “High purity manganese is an essential raw material for batteries and will be required in the vast majority of European electric vehicles. We have seen projected demand rise steadily over the past two years with current estimates pointing to a more than tenfold increase in global demand in 2030 compared to 2021.”

“We are grateful to have EIT InnoEnergy’s support to bring our project to fruition. Once operational, we expect the Project to be one of the world’s largest producers of high purity manganese with an expected annual output of around 50,000 tonnes for 25 years.”

The project will also bring local environmental and social benefits in the form of 400 high-quality jobs. Its development and the ensuing site reclamation will also eliminate a longstanding source of water pollution. The manganese will be extracted from tailings (fine, sandy waste piles) from a decommissioned mine about 90 km east of Prague.

EIT InnoEnergy CEO, Diego Pavia said: “Euro Manganese’s proposed development represents a unique opportunity for Europe to secure a measure of self-sufficiency in manganese, which is a critical battery raw material.”

“This project exemplifies the ideals of a sustainable, circular economy. By reprocessing existing mining waste located in Europe, the project will have a much smaller environmental footprint than other existing sources of battery-grade manganese, which are typically mined and shipped from Africa, processed in China and then transported to Europe.”

“The project also stands to remediate the impacts of past mining activity by recycling industrial waste. These are significant environmental benefits. By fully integrating Chvaletice Manganese into the European battery value chain, we seek to strengthen the foundation of Europe’s green and electric future.”

Download the press release here.

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