EMN successfully secures government permits - while other ASX battery metals aspirants hit hurdles.
Our investment EuroManganese (ASX:EMN) is developing Europe’s largest manganese resource (in the Czech Republic). Manganese is a key electric vehicle battery metal.
EMN is developing a source of ultra high purity manganese from the recycling of a tailings deposit - this means minimal carbon footprint compared to shipping in manganese from overseas.
Yesterday EMN announced they have secured a new Preliminary Mining Permit, valid until 31 May 31, 2026 that gives it exclusive rights to the Chvaletice tailings resource as well as the right to conduct the Project’s Final Environmental and Social Impact Assessment - expected to be completed and filed with permitting authorities in the first quarter of 2022.
The existing permit was due to expire in 2023.
The permit is a huge endorsement of EMN’s sustainability credentials while other early stage battery metals companies Piedmont Lithium and Infinity Lithium recently reporting permitting issues due to environmental concerns.
At Wise-owl we invest in a select portfolio of small cap ASX companies: we are investing in and holding a few companies that plan to mine the materials to make the EV batteries vision a reality, specifically in Europe - the fastest continent to commit to the EV switch.
Our three key investments that all intend to supply EU battery makers over the coming years are:
- EuroManganese (ASX:EMN) – developing a high purity manganese project in the Czech Republic.
- European Metals Holdings (ASX: EMH) – developing the largest hard rock lithium resource in the EU, in the Czech Republic.
- Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX: VUL) – aiming to become the world’s first Zero Carbon Lithium® producer, from a combined deep geothermal and lithium brine resource. VUL has Europe’s largest lithium resource, in the Upper Rhine Valley of Germany.
We added EMN to the Wise-owl portfolio in October last year when it was 20c and we have covered EMNs journey since then including:
- October 2020: I nitiation Report and addition of EMN into the wise-owl portfolio
- February 2021 : EU-backed EIT Inno Energy agreed to help EMN secure financing of up to €362M
- March 2021: our commentary on the positive impacts for EMN from Volkswagens power day and
- June 2021: Impact on EMN from the Group of Seven countries (G7) Summit to discuss targets to switch to electric vehicles.
This week’s News: EMN secures permits as permitting issues hit other battery metals hopefuls
EMN, which is listed on various exchanges including TSX-V and ASX:EMN; OTCQX: EUMNF,
has taken time, but ultimately made good progress in relation to permitting on its Chvaletice Manganese Project.
EMN’s Chvaletice Manganese Project entails reprocessing a sizable manganese deposit hosted in mine tailings from a decommissioned mine, strategically located in the Czech Republic.
EMN’s goal is to become a leading, competitive and environmentally superior primary producer of ultra-high-purity manganese products in the heart of Europe, serving the lithium-ion battery industry, as well as other high-technology applications.
Battery metals projects have certainly been under the spotlight for all the right reasons, but this week has seen another company in Piedmont Lithium Inc come unstuck because it has failed to strictly adhere to regulatory conditions.
This comes on the back of permitting issues being experienced by Infinity Lithium Corporation, an Australian listed minerals company seeking to develop its 75% owned San José Lithium Project in Spain.
Conversely, just yesterday EMN was granted extensions to its exclusive resource development rights at Chvaletice with good governance a key factor in maintaining support from regulators.
This is a huge vote of confidence in not only EMN’s project, but also in how it has put sustainability at the forefront of its operations.
What EMN has done to get it right
EMN has worked diligently to develop strong lines of communication and earn the trust and cooperation of regulatory agencies, community stakeholders and all levels of government.
The extension of mineral rights by the Ministry of the Environment is clear evidence of the strength of the relationships and reputation that has been built, as well as the respectful and collaborative approach that governs all the group’s dealings with stakeholders.
These extensions have provided EMN with ample time to execute the project work against its ultimate goal of start-up, commissioning and commercial production in late 2024/early 2025.
EMN’s Chvaletice Manganese Project continues to make steady progress as demand for high purity manganese continues to increase in Europe and globally.
The restart of the pilot plant, which will provide small samples of high purity manganese products for prospective customers, is proceeding on schedule, with delivery of samples expected later this year.
Fabrication of the Project’s Demonstration Plant designed to produce large-scale product samples for supply chain qualification purposes is well under way.
Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2022, and work is also advancing well on the project’s Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) and final Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, both being on track for completion in the first quarter of 2022.
In addition to supporting the EU’s goals of decarbonisation, electrification of mobility and creating a circular economy, the project brings local environmental and social benefits.
As tailings from the decommissioned mine get recycled to produce battery-grade manganese, a longstanding source of water pollution will be eliminated, and high-quality jobs will be created for local communities.
Piedmont Lithium - this is what happens when you get it wrong
On the other hand we haveReuters reporting yesterday that Piedmont Lithium Inc is in trouble because it has not applied for a state mining permit or a necessary zoning variance in relation to its Carolina Lithium Project in North Carolina.
The company was in a trading halt this week, and one can only expect that if this news is proven to be correct its project will also come to a grinding halt.
Investors are certainly thinking along those lines with the group's share price plunging from 87 cents to 68 cents prior to entering a trading halt.
The necessary permitting was to be awarded by Gaston County, but reportedly five of the seven members of the county’s board of commissioners who control zoning changes have said that they may block or delay the project because Piedmont has not told them what levels of dust, noise and vibrations will occur, nor how water and air quality would be affected.
Early mover advantages
As an early mover EMN has had time on its side in terms of progressing its project while also undertaking a thorough governance.
This underlines the benefits of pouncing on a great opportunity just at the right time.
While some may speculate that new supply could dampen pricing for battery metals despite the positive pricing impact of increasing demand, this week’s events demonstrate that new projects can’t be developed overnight.
They say you make your own luck, but in EMN’s case it would appear to be more a case of good management rather than good luck that continues to serve it well.
Management’s diligent approach to engaging with governments, regulatory agencies and local communities has been rewarded at a time when greenfield development projects are facing unprecedented opposition from local communities and activist groups regarding their potential social and environmental impacts.
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