10 Top Manganese-producing Countries

10 Top Manganese-producing Countries

Map of the world. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Manganese was first discovered in the late 1700s and has been produced in large quantities since that time, according to Jefferson Lab. The element does not occur in isolation, and is obtained by breaking down other minerals. The most common source of manganese is pyrolusite, which releases manganese when heated.

Today, 90 percent of manganese is used to create steel. When manganese is added to molten steel, it increases the alloy's strength and makes it more impact resistant.

In the first half of 2015, the price of manganese declined 30 percent, slipping under $3 per tonne, as per the Financial Times. The dip was due to declining demand for the metal and high stocks at Chinese ports. Booming construction in China has elevated the metal's price in recent years, but some analysts believe the recent dip could be the beginning of a lasting slump.

With that in mind, it's interesting to look at which regions produce the most manganese. Here's a look at the 10 top manganese-producing countries, as per statistics from the US Geological Survey (USGS).

1. South Africa

Mine production: 4.7 million tonnes

South African holds 150 million tonnes of manganese in reserve, and between 2013 and 2014, its production of the metal increased by 400,000 tonnes between 2013 and 2014 . In March 2015, Brian Molefe, CEO of Transnet, South Africa's state-run logistics company, said the country intends to increase its manganese output threefold by 2019, according to Reuters. That plan would further secure South Africa's place at the top of the global manganese market.

2. China

Mine production: 3.2 million tonnes

Construction in China has been a key driver of recent spikes in manganese demand, and the country is also one of the top producers of the metal. Despite a slowdown in domestic demand and a declining price for manganese ore, China increased its production by 200,000 tonnes in 2014 compared to the previous year. That growth may slow, but market research firm Shanghai Metals Market said in a March report that it anticipates that the nation's ore output will grow less than 5 percent year-on-year for the next five years.

3. Australia

Mine production: 3.1 million tonnes

Australia is home to the world's biggest manganese producer, South32 (ASX:S32). The company was created after BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BLT) announced plans demerge its aluminium, coal, manganese, nickel and silver assets into a new, independent global mining and metals company. The company holds interests in South African mines, as well as in two manganese projects in Australia.

4. Gabon

Mine production: 2 million tonnes

Comilog, a subsidiary of Eramet (EPA:ERA), is the largest manganese-producing company in Gabon, and is responsible for 15 percent of the world's overall production. Gabon's manganese production may rise over time as infrastructure improves and allows the country to more readily access its 24 million tonnes of manganese reserves.

5. Brazil

Mine production: 1.1 million tonnes

Brazil is a key producer of manganese, and it uses a lot of the metal as well. According to Visual Capitalist, much of the country's manganese output could end up being used domestically in the future; however, the country's agricultural sector is currently facing a manganese shortage. The country's demand for manganese that is both high-grade and high-purity is expected to grow in coming years as farmers look to improve crop health.

6. India

Mine production: 940,000 tonnes

India is not only one of the biggest producers of manganese worldwide, but also one of the largest consumers. That could pose a problem for the country in the years to come. The Indian Ministry of Mines has stated that the country will face a shortage of manganese for steel production by 2020. The organization's report, "Manganese Ore: Vision 2020 and Beyond" outlines the need for increased production that could support growing domestic manganese demand. The element is particularly important for developing countries because there is currently no substitute for manganese's role in steelmaking.

7. Ghana

Mine production: 540,000 tonnes

Within Ghana, most manganese is mined in the area around Takoradi. Consolidated Minerals, or Consmin, owns 90 percent of Ghana Manganese Company, which runs the Ntusa mine. The mine has total reserves of 45.01 million tonnes grading 28.16 percent, and total resources of 101.3 million tonnes at 26.8 percent in an area of 175 square kilometers. Only 3 percent has been mined to date.

8. Kazakhstan

Mine production: 390,000 tonnes

Manganese production held steady in Kazakhstan year-on-year, and the country has 5 million tonnes of known manganese reserves. Privately owned Eurasian Natural Resources currently runs multiple manganese mines in Kazakhstan.

9. Ukraine

Mine production: 300,000 tonnes

Although Ukraine has the second-largest manganese reserves in the world, the country's production trails that of other countries significantly. Russia Insider notes that the country is unable to harness its mineral resources due to a combination of corruption, war and mismanagement.

10. Mexico

Mine production: 220,000 tonnes

Mexican manganese output dropped by 2,000 tonnes between 2013 and 2014. According to the USGS, the country has 5 million tonnes of manganese reserves.

10 Top Manganese-producing Countries from Manganese Investing News

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