Emily manganese demonstration project moves into next phase
Cooperative Mineral Resources, a subsidiary of Crow Wing Power, recently announced it completed the extraction phase of the Emily manganese demonstration project testing an extraction method that uses groundwater to retrieve valuable manganiferous ore from 200-400 feet below the surface of the earth.
The project began extracting ore from the site last winter. It now has recovered enough material to complete the testing and review will now begin to determine if the technology is feasible and the deposit significant enough to support a commercial operation.
“This is another important milestone for us as we continue to learn more about the deposit and this new process,” said Bruce Kraemer, president and CEO of CMR, in a news release. “Information from the drill site, the processing facility, and the lab work is invaluable. This deposit is very unique and represents an important economic opportunity for our community. The challenge is to learn as much as we can to help us determine if it makes fiscal and environmental sense to move forward with plans for a commercial operation.”
Some of the ore material from the site is being studied and tested by the University of Minnesota’s Coleraine Minerals Research Laboratory. This work includes analyzing the quality and quantity of manganese in the ore, as well as looking at different ways to separate the mineral from the silica and iron. The testing and review will continue as part of the final phase of the demonstration project.
Once that study is complete, the project team will review the relevant information from the site and the lab to determine whether to proceed to develop a commercial mine. If CMR decides to move forward with plans for a larger-scale operation, a new and significantly more complex environmental review and permitting process would begin, including an Environmental Impact Statement and significant review from the city of Emily, the surrounding community, as well as permitting by state and federal regulatory agencies. The review and permitting processes for a commercial operation could take several years.
“Our goal from the beginning has been to make sure our local community receives the benefit from a local resource,” Kraemer said. “We have gone through this demonstration process to learn more about the ore and its makeup, and to see if this water-based process could work. We are encouraged by what we have seen, but we now need to get all of the information together to help us make the best decision about what happens next.”
CMR purchased the land and mineral rights in Emily in 2008. The 12-acre site, CMR reports, contains about one billion pounds of the richest manganese ore known in North America.