The battery industry gained a new set of faces last week when Star Minerals (CSE:SUV), Cooperative Mineral Resources (CMR) and Octopus Technologies signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a manganese battery. As part of a mine-to-market plan, Star Minerals, a junior mining company, will help CMR develop the Emily manganese- iron project in Minnesota. Meanwhile, Octopus Technologies will help with the technical development of a battery system. "We are looking forward to working with Star and [Octopus Technologies] as the revolution of the green battery industry evolves and the demand for manganese as a critical component increases. Currently there is no production of electrolytic manganese in North America; a key factor for this continent to remain globally competitive in the green energy field," said Bruce Kraemer, CEO of CMR, in a statement. CMR, which is owned by Crow Wing Power, has owned the Emily project since 2009, and has long planned to supply manganese to companies in the battery market. A 2013 report compiled by Barr Engineering looks at historic data on the project and estimates that it holds from 1.4 billion pounds of contained manganese grading 16.48 percent manganese (at a cut off of 10 percent manganese) to 2.2 billion pounds grading 9.2 percent manganese (at a cut off of 1 percent manganese). On the other side of the spectrum, Octopus Technologies has developed a smaller, lighter battery that it says reduces the cost of energy storage. The plan is for Star Minerals and CMR to form a joint venture to develop the Emily project. If it's shown to be technically and economically viable, it will be used to produce electrolytic manganese dioxide that will be sold in an offtake agreement with Octopus.
According to a release, the joint venture is scheduled to be signed and sealed by the end of February 2015, with the offtake agreement finalized by then as well.In an interview with the Brainerd Dispatch, a company representative for CMR said the plan is for the manganese to be used in storage and long-term batteries. There is currently no mining being done on the project site. Securities Disclosure: I, Nick Wells, hold no direct investment in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Related reading: Manganese Battery Technology A New Player in the Manganese Battery Market? from Manganese Investing News