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Output Of High Grade Mn-Ore In First Half 2005 Increased By 12%
= By Five Companies, Including BHPB, A Tempo To Increase Production Slows Down
The quantities of high grade manganese ore produced by major mining houses in the first half ( January - June ) of 2005 were as per the table shown below. According to the settlements of accounts released by five major companies, consisting of BHP Billiton ( Australia and South Africa ), CML ( Western Australia ), Assmang ( South Africa ), CVRD ( Brazil ) and Eramet ( Gabon ), the total quantity of high grade manganese ore produced by these five companies in the first half of 2005 came to 6,839,000 tons, which increased by 12.4% compared with that ( 6,081,000 tons ) produced in the same period of 2004.

These five companies produced 10,494,000 tons in total of high grade manganese in the calender year ( January - December ) of 2003 and 12,571,000 tons in total of this ore in the full year of 2004, which had an increase of 19.8% compared to that in the preceding year of 2003. The output of high grade manganese ore is expected to increase by 30% during 3 years of 2003 - 2005. The production of high grade manganese ore with Mn 44% min. has been concentrated on the five companies as mentioned above, resulting in an oligopoly, and the coverage by them came to 42.7% for 2004.

At the IMnI ( The International Manganese Institute ) Annual Conference held in June of this year, it was reported that the world output of manganese ore in the first quarter ( January - March ) of 2005 was 8,250,000 tons, including high grade, medium grade and low grade ores, which increased by 21% compared with that in the same quarter of 2004. For a reference, the total quantity of manganese ore produced by five major mining companies in the first half of 2005 had included that of medium grade manganese ore produced in Australia and South Africa.

In order to comply with an expansion of the demand for manganese, mainly from China, the world production of manganese ore in 2003 to 2004 increased by means of utilizing fully the existing capacities. Also, the fact, which the production of manganese ore in 2004 to 2005 is increased, is due to the efforts, having improved and strengthened the facilities to transport ore by railway and to load ore at shipping port. It was said that the capacity to transport manganese ore by railway in South Africa reached the maximum, but mining companies negotiated strenuously with the authorities of railway and harbor on this matter and these negotiations resulted in an increase of the ore sales as Assmang succeeded. While the transportation by railway in Brazil is said to have attached too much importance to Carajas iron ore, Azul mine of Brazil increased their production of manganese ore and, as a matter of fact, the output of manganese ore at this mine has been increasing year by year.

The benchmark price of high grade manganese ore for shipments to Japan the fiscal year of 2005 has been settled at US$3.99 per Mn 1% FOB, which rose by 63% compared with that in 2004 and also had a considerable rise of approximately 2 times compared to that in 2003, and this steep rise of price for manganese ore has caused to stimulate an intention to increase production of manganese ore by each company of manganese mines. In view of the fact that the projects to increase production of manganese planned by each company of manganese mines are still closed connected with the matter to strengthen capacities for transporting by railway and loading at shipping port, concrete programs as already released are not many but the followings are known ; (1) Eramet has been entrusted by Gabonese Government to operate Gabonese railway ( for a certain period ) and announced in July of this year to set up the structure to produce 3 million tons per annum of manganese ore at Moanda mine in 2006 and 3.5 million tons per annum in 2008 ( scheduled to produce 2.7 million tons per annum in 2005 ) in order to increase their production of manganese ore., (2) CML ( Consolidated Minerals Ltd. ) of Western Australia said that the company is scheduled to set up the structure to produce one million tons per annum of manganese ore in 2005 to 2006., and (3) Assmang completed in April of 2004 the third shaft at the Nchwaning mine to expand the capacity for production of manganese ore.

A fall of prices for manganese ferro-alloys, which has prevailed remarkably in the world from 2005, may become a factor to stop the programs to increase production of manganese ore as being proceeded by major manganese mines. The exportable price of Chinese silico-manganese has already turned to an unprofitable line and Chinese producers are now negotiating with manganese mines to reduce the present level of approximately US$4 per Mn 1% FOB for price of high grade manganese to a considerable extent. A substantial reduction of the ore price as mentioned above is not realistic but a small reduction for price of manganese ore seems to be inevitable.

Also, the quantity of manganese ore to be imported by China from the second half of 2005 and afterwards has a possibility to decrease on a basic tone, because more than 1.5 million tons of manganese ore have been accumulated in China as the excessive stocks out of the total quantity imported into China in 2004 to 2005.
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last modified : Thu 08 Sep, 2005 [10:33]
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