Manganese (Mn) ferroalloys are chiefly consumed in the steelmaking process as a deoxidizing agent or as an alloying element to produce high-quality steels. These alloys are typically produced in a submerged arc furnace using coke, fluxes and manganese ores of a specific manganese/Fe (Mn/Fe) ratio. Preferred-grade manganese ores should have Mn content greater than 46 percent and Mn/Fe content greater than 5 to produce commercial-grade, high-carbon ferromanganese . Selective mining of high-grade Mn resources has created a scarcity of these resources, which is emerging as a major challenge for the manganese and steel industry. Manganese ore resources are mainly distributed in South Africa, with about 32 percent; Ukraine, with about 17 percent; Australia, with about 17 percent; and Brazil, India, China, Gabon and Mexico, with lesser amounts.
A significant portion of these resources is ferruginous in nature, and the presence of high Fe contents of 15-40 percent in the ores decreases their Mn/Fe ratios and makes them unsuitable for the production of high-Mn ferroalloys. There are a variety of methods to remove the excess iron from these manganese ores, but most of these methods have shown limited success, mainly because of narrow differences in the physical and chemical properties of manganese and iron minerals. The manganese industry is searching for an easy, economical and sustainable solution to utilize these kinds of ores. The development of a suitable technology to use these ores can reduce the production costs of manganese and alloy steel, which play vital roles in society, from shelter construction to the manufacture of household items.
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2020) 37:1681–1692, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-020-00271-0