The on-going economic development in emerging markets, which has seen a large increase in steel production and consumption in recent years, will lead to manganese demand accelerating in the years to come. In particular, high grade manganese ores from Africa, Australia and South America will be required to feed the ferroalloy smelters of Asia, where ores are typically low-grade and unsuitable for production of good quality manganese ferroalloys.
While the future of the manganese industry will continue to depend on steel production, other applications are likely to see impressive growth. Increasing use of Li-ion and NiMh batteries for consumer, electric vehicle and storage battery applications will see manganese consumption in this area rise to approximately 60kt by 2020.
In response to rising demand, manganese production will increase in the coming years, having recovered from the market downturn in 2009. New capacity in traditional producing countries, such as South Africa, Australia and China will see output of manganese ore, ferroalloys and EMM rise in the coming years as new projects enter the market to meet growing requirements.
Although supply is expected to increase in the coming years, power restrictions and industry restructuring will add some upward pressure to prices. Manganese ore prices are expected to remain stable, with some occasional spikes. Ferromanganese prices are likely to increase slightly faster than silicomanganese, reflecting faster expansion of the flat steel products market. Reflecting these conditions, manganese prices could be 20-30% higher in five years time from end-2011 levels.
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