Canada’s Maxtech Ventures to expand footprint in Brazil with manganese JV

Shares in Canada’s Maxtech Ventures (CNSX: MVT) shot up more than 13% on Wednesday morning as the company said it plans to expand its footprint in Brazil, where is developing its flagship Brasnorte manganese project, by entering into a joint venture with a local company in Santana do Pirapama, in Minas Gerais state.

The Vancouver-based miner said it has signed a non-exclusive letter of interest to form a JV on claims where manganese mineralization has been proven. Together with its potential partner, Maxtech has already filed for a trial mining license (Guia), while they assess the asset.

At its Brasnorte manganese project, in the state of Mato Grosso, the current focus is on four claims where assays showed high-grade manganese between 51.4% to 55.9%, it said.

Miner has signed a non-exclusive letter of interest to form a JV with an undisclosed local company on claims where manganese mineralization has been proven.

Maxtech noted its in-country asset and exploration management team is going to Cuiabá to meet with the Departamento Nacional de Produção Mineral (DNPM) to discuss the final stages of approval of Brasmorte’s trial license. As soon as it gets that permit, the company will apply for environmental and operating licenses that it needs to further advance exploration and trial production initiatives.

At its vanadium assets, the firm's Brazilian based geologist and his vanadium experienced research team will be traveling to Bahia beginning the next stage of research on the claims.

There are additional areas of interest in the area which Maxtech is presently investigating, said the company.

“Manganese and vanadium are globally high-value strategic metals," Peter Wilson, chief executive at Maxtech said in the update. "We will continue to build on our strategic metal asset base in Brazil as opportunities arise."

Brazil’s vast resource-rich landscape and newly revised mining regulations are attracting increased foreign investment in the exploration and production of manganese and vanadium, considered leading-edge metals for making the batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs) and large energy-storage systems.

Traditionally used in the production of steel,  manganese is now a key ingredient in batteries for portable devices, EVs and other renewable-energy applications, including electricity grid storage such as Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) Powerwall batteries.

The metal is also used in nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries and lithiated manganese dioxide (LMD) batteries.

Vanadium has also emerged as high-performing energy material. While lithium-ion batteries are popular in EVs, the longer lifecycle and unlimited rechargeability of vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs) makes them ideal for large-scale energy-storage systems.

Brazil is home to the world’s third-largest manganese reserves (116 million tonnes) and is the fifth-largest producer with output of 1.2 million tonnes of the metal last year.

Shares in Maxtech were trading 13.64% higher at 25 Canadian cents at 10:02 a.m. EDT