Manganese plant will put SA at the forefront

MBOMBELA: Delta EMD became the leader in manganese beneficiation in South Africa, when the country’s first pilot plant was launched by science and technology minister Naledi Pandor on Wednesday.
The strategic development programme is intended to respond to the fast-paced evolution of rechargeable battery technology in the country.

This is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology, hosted by the University of Limpopo.

Pandor said that South Africa has 80 per cent of the global high-grade manganese ore.

Ninety per cent of the mineral we have in the country is of great value and can be used to make lithium-ion batteries (LIB). Such batteries are used for various things, including electric vehicles.

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“If this plant is kept running properly, these batteries can also increase job opportunities in the country,” she said. “A R50-million LIB programme is being implemented through universities and science councils.”
The plant is a critical step towards a commercial facility allocated to meet the growing demands of electric vehicles and solar energy storage. The batteries are also used in cell phones, laptops, watches, digital cameras and some medical devices, such as pacemakers used in heart-surgery patients.
“We believe that this project will position us as a world-class global supplier of manganese-based cathode materials for the international industry,” said Prof Mahlo Mokgalong, vice-chancellor and principal from the University of Limpopo.

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“The project will expand the base of the research and bring more partnerships.”
The event was followed by a two-day international energy storage workshop for potential customers, innovators, researchers, and entrepreneurs in the field of energy storage.

Bridget Mpande

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