Euro Manganese Inc.’s (EMN) principal focus is advancing the evaluation and development of the Chvaletice Manganese Project, in which it holds a 100% interest through its Czech subsidiary, Mangan Chvaletice s.r.o. The proposed Project entails re-processing a significant manganese deposit hosted in historic mine tailings, strategically located in the heart of Europe, approximately 90km east of Prague. EMN's goal is to become a leading, competitive and environmentally superior supplier of Ultra-High-Purity Manganese Products, serving both the lithium-ion battery industry, as well as producers of specialty steel and aluminum alloys.
On January 30, 2019, EMN announced the results of a Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) for the Chvaletice Manganese Project, having an after-tax NPV of US$593 million using a 10% discount rate, and an after-tax IRR of 22.6%. Refer to the Preliminary Economic Assessment section below, and to the Company’s news release dated January 30, 2019. Further information about the PEA, including key assumptions, parameters, risks and other factors, is provided in the NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Chvaletice Manganese Project, which can be viewed here, or on SEDAR at www.sedar.com under the Company's profile.
The presence of manganese and iron minerals was first recorded near the present-day village of Chvaletice in the 1800’s, and sporadic, localized mining of the Chvaletice ore body took place during the early 1900’s. Starting in the 1930’s, ore was processed for the recovery of manganese and railed to steel mills in Czechoslovakia and Germany. Between 1951 and 1975, the focus turned to the extraction of pyrite, which was used to produce sulfuric acid for various industrial clients. The waste from these operations created the three existing Chvaletice tailings piles that form the deposit. The piles were rehabilitated with a layer of top soil and trees planted between 1975 and 1983.
In the late 1980s, Bateria Slany - a Czechoslovakian state-owned battery producer - undertook extensive studies of the tailings to determine the feasibility of producing manganese dioxide for the production of dry cell batteries. Although Bateria Slany confirmed the presence of a significant and economically attractive manganese carbonate resource, they halted development following the political regime change that was initiated in 1989, which brought about the end of communism in Czechoslovakia. The deposit lay dormant until its mineral rights were granted in September 2014 to a Czech group of companies. The rights to the Project were then consolidated in a jointly-owned holding company, Mangan Chvaletice sro.
In May 2016, EMN acquired 100% of Mangan Chvaletice sro, the Czech company that holds the exploration rights to the Chvaletice manganese deposit.
The Chvaletice manganese resource is contained in three adjacent flotation tailings piles that were emplaced on flat terrain immediately below the site of a flotation mill site, adjacent to the former Chvaletice open pit mine. The tailings consist of sandy to fine greyish material containing approximately 7.3% manganese, mostly occurring as rhodochrosite and kutnohorite, two mineral forms of manganese carbonate.
Extensive drilling, trenching and bulk sampling of the Chvaletice tailings was undertaken by Bateria Slany between 1986 and 1989, and a reserve was declared under local standards of the time. Between 2014 and 2016, EMN conducted preliminary auger drilling and backhoe pit sampling to assess the qualitative aspects of the tailings and to conduct exploratory metallurgical tests.
In 2017, EMN conducted an extensive Sonic drilling campaign to evaluate the quantitative and qualitative features of the three distinct tailing deposits, to form the basis of a preliminary mineral resource estimate and to collect a representative bulk sample to conduct in-depth metallurgical studies, including a pilot plant high-purity manganese electrolytic metal production test, as well as exploratory high-purity manganese sulfate production tests. The results of this 2017 work program were reported on in a 43-101 technical report dated effective April 27, 2018 (having a release date of June 21, 2018) and entitled “Technical Report on Mineral Resource Estimation for the Chvaletice Manganese Project Chvaletice, Czech Republic” (the 2017 Technical Report”).
The Company conducted an additional phase of drilling at the Chvaletice Manganese Project in July and August 2018, designed to upgrade the confidence level of the resource estimate that was published in 2017 Technical Report. A total of 80 holes were drilled, totalling 1,510 metres in length, and a total of 767 samples were sent for assaying and various other tests. An additional 63 samples were sent for analysis, as part of a comprehensive quality assurance/quality control program
NI43:101 - MINERAL RESOURCE ESTIMATE
A copy of the 43-101 Technical Report dated March 15, 2019, with an effective date of January 29, 2019, entitled "Technical Report and Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Chvaletice Manganese Project Chvaletice, Czech Republic" prepared by Mr. James Barr, P. Geo, Senior Geologist, Mr. Jianhui (John) Huang, Ph.D., P. Eng., Senior Metallurgical Engineer, Mr. Mark Horan, P. Eng., Hassan Ghaffair, P. Eng., and Chris Johns, P. Eng., all with Tetra Tech Canada Inc. ("Tetra Tech"), I 43-101,can be viewed here, or on SEDAR at www.sedar.com under the Company's profile. Tetra Tech, is a leading diversified North American engineering firm with considerable EMM experience.
The JORC Code technical report with an effective date of January 29, 2019 (release date of March 22, 2019) entitled "Public Reporting and Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Chvaletice Manganese Project Chvaletice, Czech Republic" prepared by Tetra Tech Canada Inc. (JORC Report) has been prepared for the purposes of verifying the information in the Chvaletice Technical Report against the JORC Code. A copy of the JORC Report can be viewed here.
A summary of the updated Chvaletice Technical Report Mineral Resource Estimate resulted in a reclassification and upgrade of the tailings contained in the three Chvaletice tailings cells to Measured and Indicated categories, from Indicated and Inferred. The Project's combined Measured and Indicated Resources now amount to 26,960,000 tonnes, grading 7.33% total manganese and 5.86% soluble manganese, as summarized below:
Manganese in the Chvaletice tailings is fairly evenly distributed through entire deposit. The deposit contains finely milled, unconsolidated tailings placed above ground, which are expected to result in very low mining and virtually zero ore dressing costs. Approximately, 80% of manganese is contained in leachable manganese carbonate minerals that require no calcination, unlike manganese oxide ore.
EVALUATION AND PLANNING
EMN initiated its investigations on the Chvaletice Manganese Project in 2015. Early work conducted during 2015 and 2016 was focused on:
confirming the results of earlier exploration, metallurgical and engineering studies conducted by a Czechoslovakian State-owned company in the 1980s
determining the manganese content and mineralogy of the Chvaletice tailings
conducting legal and environmental due diligence investigations
conducting exploratory beneficiation, leaching and purification tests on the tailings samples
developing a conceptual process flowsheet to produce high purity electrolytic manganese metal
initiating environmental and hydrogeological baseline studies
Since acquisition of the project, Euro Manganese Inc. set out to achieve several key objectives to advance the Chvaletice Manganese Project. These included completion of:
environmental baseline studies
an extensive drilling assaying to updating the Mineral Resource Estimate and resource estimation program
a comprehensive beneficiation and hydrometallurgical test work program
an extraction and reclamation plan development
advanced process flowsheet development
community engagement and consultation
preliminary economic evaluation (PEA)
All of these objectives have been met culminating with the announcement of the PEA results on January 30, 2019.
We also conducted scoping and pre-feasibility-level process design studies, evaluating plant and site infrastructure layout alternatives, developing preliminary capital and operating cost estimates, planning and carrying out extensive environmental studies, and conducting widespread community consultations.
The development of the Chvaletice site will require that we design many aspects of the Project to meet stringent Czech and European safety, health, and environmental standards. We are increasingly confident in our ability to do so. Our goal is to develop one of the cleanest and highest-quality manganese products producers in the world, and to turn the clock on the environmental impacts of past mining activity, leaving the site in an improved condition in full compliance with the demanding reclamation and restoration regulations that prevail today.
Based on our findings to date including the results of the PEA, we are increasingly confident in our ability to develop the Project site to accommodate a world-leading, high-purity manganese production facility. We have also recently seen an extraordinary opportunity emerge that could see us supply critical European-sourced refined battery materials for the global market.
In August 2018, following completion of legal and financial diligence, EMN concluded a significant de-risking event for the Project, namely, the securing of a parcel of land where we propose to develop the Chvaletice high-purity manganese processing facility. We acquired an option giving us the right to acquire 100% of a small Czech steel fabrication company that owns a 19.94-hectare parcel of land located immediately south of the highway and rail line that bound the Chvaletice tailings deposit. The land parcel is adjacent to the Chvaletice power plant and 1.7-hectare parcel of land and rail siding that was acquired by EMN in November 2017 and is zoned for industrial use and contains numerous buildings, including office, warehousing and other industrial structures. The land also contains two rail spurs and is served by gas, water and power. The Company will have the right to acquire the company by making payments aggregating 140 million Korunas payable in three cash instalments, the first of which was paid on October 17, 2018 in the amount of 14 million Czech Korunas (approx. CAD$815,000). The Company can complete the acquisition of EPCS by making two additional instalments aggregating 126 million Korunas (approx. CAD$7.32 million). where
Our Project team is now focused on further defining and refining our plans to advance the Project through front-end engineering and optimization work, and on the efficient progression of Project permitting. Planning, process engineering design and metallurgical test work are ongoing, ahead of the upcoming feasibility study, which we target completing by early 2020. Planning is underway to design, build and commission a demonstration plant in the Czech Republic that will provide bulk, multi-tonne finished product samples for customer evaluation. This will provide confirmation to the customers of the ability of EMN to meet high product specifications. The demonstration plant will enable process optimization and testing for the product development. In addition, it is expected to serve as a testing and training facility for future operators. Our 2019 plans also include intensifying community, stakeholder and regulatory consultation, and the filing of Project Permit Application.
PRELIMINARY ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT
On January 30, 2019, EMN announced the results of a PEA for the Chvaletice Manganese Project. Please refer to EMN’s news release dated January 30, 2019 for a summary of those results. A copy of the PEA dated March 15, 2019, with an effective date of January 29, 2019, entitled "Technical Report and Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Chvaletice Manganese Project Chvaletice, Czech Republic" prepared by Tetra Tech under NI 43-101, can be viewed here, or on SEDAR at www.sedar.com under the Company's profile.
The PEA is based on a Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource Estimate, as summarized above under NI 43:101 - MINERAL RESOURCE ESTIMATE. None of these Mineral Resources have been converted to Mineral Reserves. The PEA is considered preliminary in nature and includes estimated costs that are subject to an approximate margin of error of plus or minus 35%. Accordingly, there is no certainty that the PEA will be realized. Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not by definition have demonstrated economic viability.
This PEA was compiled and project-managed by Tetra Tech with major input from CINF Engineering Ltd (“CINF”) (comprehensive process design, plant engineering, equipment selection and testing), Changsha Research Institute for Mining and Metallurgy (“CRIMM”) (metallurgical testwork, process design, product development and pilot plant testing), Bilfinger Tebodin Czech Republic (“Tebodin”) (Czech and European cost estimation, localization and environmental services), GET s.r.o. (“GET”) (geology and sampling, environmental and tailings extraction planning) and Sudop Ltd (railway infrastructure design study).
Highlights of the PEA include:
PEA based on the recycling of a 27 million tonnes Measured and Indicated tailings resource (98.3% Measured) with a combined grade averaging 7.33% Mn, without the requirement of any hard rock mining, crushing or milling.
25-year project operating life producing 1.19 million tonnes of HPEMM, two-thirds of which is expected to be converted into HPMSM powder.
Saleable product of 404,100 tonnes of HPEMM and 2.35 million tonnes of HPMSM, focusing principally on Europe's rapidly emerging electric vehicle battery industry.
Flexibility to supply either HPEMM or HPMSM, to suit customer preference.
Pre-tax NPV of $782 million and after tax NPV of $593 million, using a 10% real discount rate.
$404 million in pre-production capital, $24.8 million in sustaining capital, and $31 million in working capital, with an ungeared, pre-tax 25.2% IRR with a 4.5-year payback, and a post-tax 22.6% IRR with a 4.9-year payback.
Project economics are based on projected average HPEMM (containing 99.9% Mn) price of $4,617/tonne and HPMSM (containing 32% Mn) price of $2,666/tonne over the project life.
Targeting production of ultra-high-purity electrolytic manganese metal with specifications exceeding 99.9% Mn and ultra-high-purity manganese sulphate monohydrate with a minimum manganese content of 32.34%, which exceed typical industry standards.
Exceptionally green project credentials. Project designed to meet or exceed all Czech and European safety, health and environmental standards, to remediate the Chvaletice tailings and arrest ongoing pollution related to unlined historical tailings piles.
Access to excellent transportation, energy and community infrastructure.
Proposed process plant site to be located in an industrially-zoned brownfields site, where a historical process plant generated the Chvaletice tailings.
Sophisticated, stable and business-friendly European Union jurisdiction that is highly supportive of new and, especially, green investments.
Robust project economic potential and rapidly growing market demand for high-purity manganese products support a wide range of potential financing alternatives.
Opportunities exist to enhance returns through process optimization initiatives and various investment incentives that may be available through the Czech Republic and European Union.
Next steps: Build and commission a Demonstration Plant in 2019 to produce multi-tonne, High-Purity Manganese product samples for customer testing and qualification, in conjunction with ongoing studies leading to completion of a feasibility study and submission of permit applications that will require further environmental investigations.
PEA Summary and Economic Analysis
The following summarizes the material assumptions used in, and the results of, the PEA, assuming a targeted start of production in the second half of 2022 (M = Millions, K = Thousands)
Average real selling prices per tonne of HPEMM (99.9% Mn content) and HPMSM (32% Mn content) for the period as projected in a market study prepared for the Company by CPM Group LLC, entitled “Market Outlook for High-purity Electrolytic Manganese Metal and High-purity Manganese sulphate monohydrate,” dated January 21, 2019.
"We are committed to advancing the Chvaletice Tailings Project while adhering to best practices for corporate governance, environmental excellence and social responsibility."
The Czech Republic is a stable, modern democracy with a free market economy and a favorable investment, fiscal and legal regime. Human and property rights are valued and respected. While it is a member of the European Union, the country preserves its monetary independence and boasts one of Europe’s highest levels of economic growth. Its diverse and growing economy is principally based on heavy and light industries, tourism, high-technology and agriculture. The country once hosted a vibrant mining industry, but today its rich deposits of silver, lead and zinc are largely depleted. Local resource extraction is now focused principally on coal, industrial minerals, construction materials and some uranium through recycling and reclamation of mine waste, as well as minor forestry operations. Mineral exploration activity has increased recently, driven largely by a search for battery making raw materials such as lithium and cobalt.
Through local laws, regulations and standards, which have been harmonized with those that prevail in the EU, the country has robust environmental regulations and a well-informed and engaged population that cares about the health of its environment and the diversity of its ecosystems. The Czech Republic also has a highly educated, skilled and productive workforce capable of supporting a multitude of technologically advanced industries.
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