Manganese market volatility has become the norm for the top manganese-producing countries in recent years, and 2020 was no different.
After a sharp decline in 2019, COVID-19 lockdowns sent the manganese price soaring in May of last year before a crash brought it down in the second half of the 12 month period.
Looking forward into 2021 and beyond, the metal is strongly dependent on demand from China, which requires large amounts of electrolytic manganese to produce steel for construction. Interest in battery applications for manganese could also be a positive force moving forward.
What is manganese used for?
While the steel industry is the primary user of manganese metal, consuming it as an alloy in steel production to enhance the strength and workability of the key construction material, manganese is also mixed with aluminum to manufacture tin cans.
Manganese dioxide and manganese oxide are often used as cathode materials in the production of zinc-carbon and alkaline batteries. Additionally, after crude oil is refined, manganese may be used as an additive to help coat and protect a car’s engine.