Manganese concentration Scoping Study at helm of Black Canyon’s Q2 activities 

Black Canyon (ASX:BCA) is hoping to deliver a manganese concentration Scoping Study by the end of Q2 2024 amid a plethora of activities surrounding the development of a high purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPMSM) product.    

In its quarterly report released today (23 April 2024), Black Canyon says the Scoping Study will examine a number of options, including single or multi-pit openings, a central processing plant, production rates, and transport solutions. 

Speaking to Mining.com.au, Executive Director Brendan Cummins explains the updated Scoping Study is based on the wholly owned KR1 and KR2 deposits in Western Australia. 

“As part of the updated parameters, we are increasing the mine throughput with an aim to reduce the OPEX and we continue to focus on the delivery of manganese concentrate at a standard grade between 30 and 33% Mn,” he says.

The current Scoping Study incorporates the Flanagan Bore Manganese Project, which Black Canyon holds via a joint venture (JV) with Carawine Resources (ASX:CWX), and is estimated to have a pre-tax net present value of $134 million (8% discount rate) and a pre-tax internal rate of return of 67%. 

Other key metrics of the study include a life of mine revenue of $2.282 billion and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of $420 million. 

Average annual free operating cashflow is forecast to be $32.1 million for the first four years of mining, with capex tipped at $44 million and a payback period of less than two years. 

The company will also continue up-scaled hydrometallurgical testwork on the KR1 and KR2 manganese oxide ores to confirm a manganese concentrate delivery flowsheet, as well as further refine the initial battery grade HPMSM testwork completed to date.  

Meanwhile, Black Canyon, which has a $7 million market capitalisation, will continue to review location options for a HPMSM facility within Australia. The company is looking for locations that provide synergistic advantages such as manufacturing hubs, infrastructure, reagents, and low renewable power costs. 

The company will also continue to engage with third parties interested in offtake or involvement in producing HPMSM and manganese concentrate products. 

Cummins adds that these activities come at a time in which increasing manganese demand from India, coupled with anticipated supply constraints, could see the manganese price supported over the next 12 months.

This would be further supported by maintained steady growth in Chinese crude steel production, with steel utilisation redirected from residential to infrastructure and exportation of finished steel products. 

Manganese is the fourth-most used metal in terms of tonnage after iron, aluminium, and copper, with 90% of all manganese consumed annually going into steel as an alloying agent, according to Geoscience Australia.  

In the previous quarter, Black Canyon outlined an exploration target for the Pickering and Balfour East prospects of160 to 215 million tonnes @ 11 to 12% manganese for 18 to 23Mt of contained manganese. 

This is in addition to the existing resource of 314Mt @ 10.5% manganese for 33.1Mt of contained manganese defined across the Balfour Manganese Field.  

Metallurgical testwork during Q2 meanwhile returned concentrate grades between 30.2% and 37.4% manganese from KR1 samples and 29.2% and 35.3% from KR2 samples via heavy liquid separation. 

Black Canyon is now planning dense media separation (DMS) trials using larger scale equipment that simulates processing equipment used in the beneficiation of manganese and iron ore at mines in the Pilbara region. 

Black Canyon closed the quarter with $1.23 million in cash and no debt. 

The company controls more than 2,100km2 of tenure in the East Pilbara, close to the operating Woodie Woodie and Butcherbird manganese deposits.   

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

Images: Black Canyon  
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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.