Manganese

This information has not been updated since 2010 and is provided for general reference purposes. For more detailed information and for the latest data, please see the Australia’s Identified Mineral Resources manganese ore chapter .

Australia is a significant producer of manganese with Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory being a world class manganese deposit and producing continuously since mining began in the 1960’s.

Manganese Ore Properties and Uses

Manganese is the twelfth most abundant element in the Earth's crust and is found in many minerals with the two main manganese minerals being pyrolusite (MnO2) and rhodochrosite (MnCO3). Manganese is essential to iron and steel making because of its sulphur fixing, deoxidising and alloying properties as well as its low cost. About 90 per cent of manganese production is used in manufacturing iron and steel, but it also is important for use in dry cell batteries, as an alloying element in aluminium and copper and trace nutrient in plant fertilisers and animal feeds as well as in the form of manganese compounds as pigments and for colouring ceramics and glass. Properties and uses of manganese can be found on the International Manganese Institute website .

Manganese Production and Exports

Australia produces around 5 million tonnes of beneficiated manganese ore with exports valued around $1 billion.

Information on Australia’s production and exports of manganese are given in Australia Mineral Statistics and Australian Commodities which are produced quarterly by Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) .

Manganese Ore Resources and World Ranking

Australia’s Economic Demonstrated Resources (EDR) of manganese ore is currently slightly more than 180 million tonnes with the Northern Territory accounting for almost 84 per cent of total Australian EDR.

Based on figures published by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the latest Australian resource figures, world economic resources of manganese ore is around 1420 million tonnes with Australia’s share being 13 per cent and ranked fourth behind Ukraine with 29 per cent, South Africa with 20 per cent and China with 14 per cent. However, China currently is the largest producer of manganese ore accounting for 39 per cent of world production followed by Australia with 14 per cent.

Australia’s manganese ore resources and reserves are summarised in Australia’s Identified Mineral Resources.

Geoscience Australia produces maps of Australia’s operating mines, mineral deposits, endowment, and processing centres via the Australian Mines Atlas .

Manganese Ore Exploration and Discovery

Manganese was mentioned first in 1803 by explorer Matthew Flinders at Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory but it was not until 1961 that significant high grade manganese occurrences were identified in the vicinity of the Groote Eylandt Mission and mining began in 1966.

Exploration was undertaken also 110 kilometres north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory which led to small scale mining of the Mucketty deposit to supply the Rum Jungle uranium mine from 1955 until 1969. Following subsequent exploration and a drilling program the mine resumed operations in 2005.

In Western Australia manganese deposits were first recognised in the Peak Hill district in 1905 and manganese in the Woodie Woodie district was first documented by government geologists before 1920. Mining has been spasmodic since beginning at Peak Hill in 1922 and currently manganese is being mined at the Woodie Woodie and Peak Hill projects.

Highlights of mineral exploration, including manganese, are reviewed annually in Australian Mineral Exploration Review and Australia’s Identified Mineral Resources.