Chinese manganese alloy producer Jiaocheng Yiwang Ferroalloy Company will invest up to $3.6 million in a manganese project of emerging Australian producer Bligh Resources. The companies have signed a joint venture agreement to explore at the Grenfell Manganese Project in central southeast New South Wales. The staged investment will allow Yiwang to earn up to a 50% stake in the 313sqkm project site.

Bligh’s executive director Rob Benussi says, “We are very pleased to have announced terms with one of China’s leading manganese alloy producers, as part of our strategy to secure partnerships with established companies who can bring technical expertise and backing to our projects.

“This deal with Yiwang is significant and we are looking forward to working together to develop the Grenfell project. This agreement also allows Bligh to fast track its exploration efforts whilst maintaining a strong cash balance.”

An induced polarization survey has commenced at the site and 80 reverse circulation drill holes are scheduled to begin in September, focusing on historic manganese mines near the town of Grenfell.

Yiwang’s chairman Jinle Song says, “Yiwang believes that the Grenfell project offers significant exploration upside and we look forward to working with Bligh to maximize its potential.” Yiwang was established in 1988 and now employs more than 1500 people, with an annual production value of about Aus$300 million. It is based in Shanxi province and is highly regarded in the manganese market and among major manganese producers.

Jinle Song’s technological leadership in the manufacturing of ferroalloys has been recognized by the Chinese Society for Metals & China Iron and Steel Association, specifically for his development of a new refining process for manganese metal and low carbon ferro manganese.