Manganese is an element symbolized with “Mn” which exists naturally as an ore. Manganese has a huge demand globally due to its essential applications, with the metal being used in the production of steel as well as in the manufacturing of high-capacity batteries. About 18.5 million tons of manganese are produced around the world each year. The Kalahari Desert is thought to contain more than 70% of the world’s manganese reserves. South Africa, Australia, and China are the three top-producers of manganese in the world, with the total production of the three countries representing more than 65.4% of the global manganese production.
1. South Africa - 6.2 Million Tons
South Africa accounts for about 33.5% of the global manganese production. The country has an annual manganese production of 6.2 million tons, which is the largest not only in Africa but in the whole world. Most of the manganese mining in South Africa is concentrated in the Kalahari Desert which is believed to contain over 70% of the global manganese reserves. Manganese mining is a principal employer in some regions of the country and earns the country millions of dollars in foreign exchange. Traditionally, manganese mining in the African nation was only conducted by large mining companies, but that has changed in recent years as many small and medium-sized companies are engaged in the lucrative economic activity.
2. Australia - 3 Million Tons
The annual manganese production in Australia is about 3 million tons, making the country the second-largest manganese producer in the world. The annual manganese exports from Australia are valued at over $1 billion. The country is believed to have the world’s fourth-largest manganese reserves. Groote Eylandt which is where the country’s largest manganese deposits are found, is the center of manganese mining in Australia. GEMCO is an Australian mining company that undertakes the manganese mining operations in Groote Eylandt and is among the world’s largest manganese producing companies.
3. China - 2.9 Million Tons
China is Asia’s top producer of manganese with its annual manganese production being over 2.9 billion which is the third-highest of any country globally. The Asian economic giant recently discovered a massive manganese ore reserve in the country’s Guizhou Province. The discovery, which was made in early 2017, is thought to contain an estimated 0.203 billion tons of the ore, whose total value is estimated to be over $10 billion. When exploited, the manganese ore reserve will be of great benefit to China which is reliant on manganese imports to meet its seemingly insatiable domestic demand for the metal.
Growing Demand For Manganese
The global demand for manganese has been on an upward trajectory in recent years. The growth in manganese demand is believed to be linked to the increase in large infrastructural projects in most of the world’s largest economies. China and the United States have mega infrastructural projects either being planned or ongoing which are valued at trillions of dollars. The metal is used in the production of steel, which is a critical component in the world’s construction industry. The rising manganese demand around the world is also linked to the emergence of electric cars, which are powered by electric-charged batteries. The metal is used in the production of these batteries.