Skip Navigation Links

Bookmark and Share
Manganese X Energy Corp. (TSXV: MN, FSE: 9SC2, OTCQB: MNXXF): Goal to Advance Project into Production to Supply Value-Added Materials to the Lithium-Ion Battery and Other Alternative Energy Industries; Martin Kepman, CEO Interviewed

on 5/23/2021
We spoke with Martin Kepman, CEO of Manganese X Energy Corp. (TSXV: MN, FSE: 9SC2, OTCQB: MNXXF), who are advancing their Battery Hill manganese project, located in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. Manganese X plans to advance the Battery Hill project into production, with the intent of supplying value-added materials to the lithium-ion battery and other alternative energy industries. The Company is striving to achieve new carbon-friendly, more efficient methodologies, while processing manganese at a lower competitive cost. The Company is moving toward commercialization of a manganese deposit in Canada. Disruptive Battery is a subsidiary of Manganese X that is developing an HVAC air purification delivery system, for cleaner and healthier air, aiming to mitigate COVID-19 and other contaminants on surfaces and in the air.

Manganese X Energy Corp.

Allen Alper: This is Allen Alper with Metals News, interviewing Martin Kepman, CEO of Manganese X Energy Corp. They have a promising manganese deposit, located in New Brunswick. Martin, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Martin Kepman: I'm the CEO of Manganese X Energy Corp. I have been the CEO for the last five years and we have grown greatly during this time. We took this Company from a manganese company, (which is located in Woodstock, New Brunswick) into a company approaching our Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) project right now, which is encouraging. We've invested over $6 million in our Company and we're moving forward. I've been a consultant for the last 30 years in the business world.

I've restructured companies and we always took an approach, where we would try to enhance the company and make it profitable. We worked on a lot of different companies and turned around many of them. I worked on over 150 companies and we always took a different approach, using outside the box thinking, to become highly successful. When companies continued to do things status quo, they usually don’t succeed. We had to find a unique aspect of each company to turn it around, which always worked and made us industry leaders.

Allen Alper: That's great. Can you give us an overview of Manganese X Energy and what differentiates you from your competitors?

Martin Kepman: We have a great team, that's the most important thing. We have great Directors, and we all work together. That's a very important factor. What makes us different is that we're well financed, and we're very aggressive. We have really grown in the last five years and our knowledge base of manganese has increased greatly. When we took over the Company in 2016, we saw that manganese was going to be the future mineral. Nobody knew anything about manganese. We found this unbelievable property in Woodstock, New Brunswick, and we were ahead of the curve on manganese.

When we purchased this property in New Brunswick, called Battery Hill Property, it was a manganese project and we felt that manganese was going to be the future mineral. We were looking to find a mineral that was environmentally friendly, green, etc. We had a vision of where we wanted to go, regarding this EV space and the backup storage space. We tried to accomplish this over the last five or six years, and we have. We have spent a lot of time and effort developing our manganese property and we have a great metallurgical company working with us.

We have progressed to the point where we are now, as I mentioned earlier, doing a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) project, which will determine the viability and the commercialization of our manganese property. What makes us different is that the mineral is a carbonate. A carbonate is a specialized manganese. It's like charcoal, where you just have to leach the mineral. Other oxide properties in China and all over the world have to be roasted. They roast the manganese for eight, nine hours, it's very time consuming. Then they must turn it into a sulfite. With our manganese, we leach it, and we turn it into MnSO4 directly, which is manganese sulfate. That's a big advantage of our property. We're able to be working on the carbonate mineral.

We're also one of the forerunners, right now, in the exploration of manganese, within Canada and the USA, because of our aggressiveness. Secondly, we have a very friendly website, which gives new investors and old investors constant updates on news releases, blogs, and what's going on with manganese. Another important factor is that anybody who wants to call me can do so. My phone number is on that website and I take all calls that I receive. I get criticized for this because I'm terribly busy, but I always like to hear what the investor has to say, it's very, very important. I'm one of the few CEOs that will take calls directly on my cell phone. That's the way I feel. When I was investing in the junior mining industry, a lot of times I couldn't get to management. Our management is very accessible and, we're very transparent.

Allen Alper: That's great. Very few people do that. Could you tell our readers/investors more about your Battery Hill project, your technology and your recent drill results ?

Martin Kepman: Firstly, Battery Hill is located in Woodstock, New Brunswick. Our Battery Hill is a manganese property, with 1,228 hectares, located in Woodstock, New Brunswick with 55 claims. The location is ideal, we're five kilometers away from the TransCanada Highway and we have shipping gateways to the American border because we're also10 kilometers away from Maine, and 10 kilometers away from the St. Lawrence Seaway in the Great Lakes shipping. The infrastructure is all there. We have electricity and we just completed a drill program of 28 holes at 4,800 meters. We have, since 2017, completed 54 holes of 9,600 meters.

We've done a lot of drilling and we've done a lot of exploration on our project. We've also done a lot of excellent metallurgical studies on our manganese, which is a carbonate. We have been working with an incredible metallurgical company, called Kemetco Research, out of Vancouver.

They've been with us for the last four years and we’ve worked on many major projects together, and they have accomplished some unbelievable advancements. We were able to achieve 99.95% purity, EV compliant, low contaminate manganese sulfate, which is MnSO4, which is a precursor to the cathode. This is a milestone achievement because it's a finished powder product. We've received some very interesting comments about our end product, and they've also improved our flow sheets. For improved economics, we are now working towards the PEA and using these cost- saving economical processes.

Secondly, they have discovered an interesting purification process, which we're going to be patenting. That's going to be huge for us because it's going to be cost savings. To develop this type of patent, with a carbonate, is very favorable. There are two types of manganese minerals. There's the carbonate, which we just leach directly. But the oxides must be electrified and roasted for eight hours. That's very expensive and most of the manganese is coming from roasting oxides. The oxides must be converted into a sulfate for the purification. Because we have an MnSO4, which is manganese sulfate, a precursor, we don’t need to take it offsite and convert it into a sulfate, which is very costly and expensive.

Allen Alper: Can you tell us a little bit about your technology assets, LAB Graphite, Peter Lake and your Disruptive Battery Corp.?

Martin Kepman: LAB Graphite will be spun off, it's going into a new Company, called Graphano Energy LTD. (GEL.V). We haven't determined a dividend date yet, as we are awaiting TSX Venture approval of record date. Upon approval by the TSX Venture, a dividend date will be announced, and a news release will be disseminated. For Manganese X shareholders, for every eight shares held on that specified date, the Manganese shareholder will receive one new company, Graphano, share. Graphano has a mine in Mont-Laurier, Quebec, which is contiguous to TIMCAL’s Lac des Iles. I was up there myself, I walked in and the entrance of the TIMCAL mine is on the LAB property. It used to be an old mine in the 90s, there's large graphite there. They've done drilling and that property shows a lot of potential.

The Peter Lake has not been really looked at that closely, it's been put on hold until the LAB project has been resolved. We will possibly be drilling there in the spring. But LAB is showing a lot of potential there. When it has spun off, there's going to be a lot of exploration done, pertaining to an NI 40-101.

Allen Alper: What's going on with Disruptive Battery Corp.?

Martin Kepman: Disruptive Battery Corp was formed as a subsidiary of Manganese X, to enhance shareholder value. We were looking for something complementary in the battery field. We were offered this US HVAC disbursement air patent; it was a patent for an HVAC system. After a couple of months, looking at what's going on with covid and all the problems in the air, we decided for the environment, we're going to purchase the HVAC patent system.

We purchased it and it showed excellent potential. It's in their disbursement unit. We needed a liquid air mist purifier in the HVAC air disbursement unit to complement it. We looked around for a long time and we searched the market. After two or three months, we were looking for an infectious disease specialist and we found a gentleman by the name of Lino G. Morris from Orlando Florida, who owns a company called PureBiotics. We met with him and talked. He has been in business for the last 25 years, working in this area. It was like a marriage made in heaven.

We decided we would combine forces. We entered into a 50/50 joint venture with him, called PureBiotics Air Inc. Before we started our Joint Venture, (JV), I did a lot of research on PureBiotics and he had done a lot of hospital testing and university testing, which proved that this organic air mist potentiality destroyed something called biofilm. The biofilm is a remarkably interesting part of what bacteria and contagious diseases live on.

It's a protective area, on all surfaces and everywhere in your body. It's like plaque on your teeth. It basically protects viruses and bacteria. And, he had shown that he was able to deconstruct this biofilm, right down to the bottom molecular level. Plaque and biofilm can live up to 60 years and really become very thick and dense. The CDC has said that 80% of all infections are caused by biofilm, it's very interesting.

It's not really a well-known science, biofilm. Mr. Morris has worked with the FDA before and has worked with renowned universities on testing. He's well known in the industry. We have now engaged Virginia State University to do all these tests on the biofilm and all different bacteria and viruses to see if his air mist can deconstruct the biofilm. If it can show that it can do it as an air mist, it can really help society and possibly prevent the spreading of infections.

Right now, we're in the midst of doing the testing at Virginia State. It's taking a lot longer than we thought because of the COVID-19 situation. Incidentally, Virginia State is one of the most recognized universities that do this type of testing. They started with growing the biofilm, which is something new, because normally you just must collect it on surfaces, but they grew the biofilm and now they're testing the different viruses and bacteria on the biofilm. They're filming it in slow motion, with these high spectrum microscopes to see how it deconstructs the biofilm. We should be getting some results in the near future.

Our Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) will indicate to us whether our property is commercially and economically viable. We have selected Wood, one of the world’s top ranked, renowned consulting and engineering firm. We're extremely excited to proceed with this PEA. This PEA is going to make or break our Company and indicate to us whether we can produce our high purity EV compliant MnSO4, economically. We anticipate a high demand for MnSO4, because of what's going on in the EV space and the backup energy storage space.

With the US Defense Act right now, and with Biden, we're extremely excited about that. There is such an increasing demand going on within the EV space, with Ford and Tesla and Volkswagen. Also, there’s a Company in Canada that's opening up producing EV Purolator trucks. We're all excited to be able to work on this project because we foresee that the demand for manganese is really going to increase in North America. Because of what's going on with the Defense Act and Biden and all these other acts, where they want Canada and the United States to work together in the mining industry and supply one of the 35 critical minerals that we have, which is manganese. So, we're really excited. We're getting a lot of inquiries about our MnSO4 EV ultra-high purity manganese product, into which we have put a lot of work.

Allen Alper: Can you tell us a little bit more about Battery Hill, its location and how that area is as an environment for mining?

Martin Kepman: It has 55 claims and it's 1,200 hectares, in Woodstock, New Brunswick. It's ten miles away from Holston Main. There are excellent shipping channels into the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence. The infrastructure is really good. All the electricity is there. Everything you want is there, including the roads. New Brunswick is a fairly positive province to assist in the mining. So far, we've received some grants from the New Brunswick government and everything else looks incredibly positive. We're getting a lot of very positive reactions. We're starting on a baseline environmental study soon. As well as expecting our NI-43-101 compliant resource estimate completed shortly. We are really progressing in a very positive way to get this property into production.

Allen Alper: Could you tell our readers/investors a little bit more about the strategic importance and main uses of manganese and what's going on in the US, with these recent occurrences?

Martin Kepman: I'll give your readers a little bit of history. We have researched manganese and they're predicting that there's going to be demand for manganese 23% compounded over the next 10 years. Manganese is used in disposable batteries and household disposable rechargeable batteries, zinc oxide batteries, cheaper zinc oxide batteries. Manganese is also used in so many different areas, such as chemical drugs, fertilizers, and steel.

Let's talk about the EV space and the backup energy space. Those are the two primary areas where manganese is being utilized. I'll talk about what's going on with Tesla, with cobalt, manganese and nickel. Tesla was using NMC batteries, nickel, manganese and cobalt. Manganese was used in 10% of that battery. Cobalt manganese is trading about $1,700 US a ton. Cobalt was, I think, $38,000 to $40,000 a ton.

What Tesla came up with, last September, was a new battery, a manganese nickel battery, one third manganese, two thirds nickel and this was a major inroad for manganese because manganese increases the battery with the density, also with energy that went further up to 1,000 kilometers. Manganese is nontoxic, and has so many good qualities, while eliminating cobalt in the NMC battery. Manganese is now being recognized and there has been a lot of interest in these newly advanced batteries.

I just saw a video on Volkswagen, and they are using manganese in the same situations instead of cobalt. Manganese is becoming a forerunner, right now, as a mineral in the EV batteries. The percentage is lower than nickel, but it's increased. It's really given the robustness that the battery needed and is less toxic. That's where it is with the EV battery space. General Motors is just opening a $27 billion, 25 model factory in Detroit and Volkswagen is there. There's also another company that just bought another automobile processing company, where they're going to be producing EV trucks.

Now they're going into EV motorcycles. Everything is going EV. And by 2045, the combustion engine is going to be outlawed in India and China. In Quebec, they're saying that they don't want to sell any more combustion engines by 2035. It's amazing what's going on with these EV batteries. There are a lot more dealers opening up. It's just exploding! The tremendous potential for manganese is there, especially in North America, because that's what the US Defense Act is embodying. We want to be able to work together with American exploration companies, trade information and be able to produce, instead of being dependent on China and all the other foreign countries. The USA and Canada want to make this an especially important supply chain to supply high-grade manganese EV products in North America.

Allen Alper: That's absolutely true! Can you tell us a little bit more about the Defense Act, what exactly is it?

Martin Kepman: The Defense Act is basically recognizing the 35 critical minerals, and manganese is one of them. They want to need to rely on imports. They want to be able to utilize as many of the 35 critical minerals as possible, in North America, and trade different information and work together to produce these types of minerals, so they won't have to be reliant on any foreign imports.

Allen Alper: That makes Manganese X Energy much more attractive because of its location.

Martin Kepman: Yes, it is. Thanks to Kemetco Research, we have found some very interesting processes to reduce the cost of processing our manganese, which is also going to be positive. We hopefully will be able to be competitively priced worldwide, compared to the competition. There are a couple of other things that we can't really say yet about what we're doing with our processing, but it's going to be environmentally friendly. Very green!!

Allen Alper: That's a major objective of Tesla. They're really looking at having mining companies that have a very small carbon footprint. Is that something that's in your plans?

Martin Kepman: Absolutely. Emissions free and no carbon footprint! The whole idea of our Company, when we established it in 2016, was to have an environmentally friendly product. That's why we went into the EV batteries, as well as in the backup storage. Our main thrust was to produce a product for these two environments, because of the footprint, and to produce something environmentally friendly with zero emissions.

Allen Alper: Can you tell our readers/investors more about your Team?

Martin Kepman: We have a newly formed Board of Directors. Our Chairman, Roger Dahn, was VP of Exploration. He has been working on the project, with us, since 2016. He's done all the exploration. He has all the experience. He's from New Brunswick. He's really been a great help to our Company. He was just promoted to Chairman of the Board last year and he's still continually involved with our exploration.

We recently appointed Perry MacKinnon, VP of Exploration. Since 2016, both Roger and Perry have worked as a team on this project. Roger will continue to be an adviser on this Battery Hill project. We are now in good hands with Perry. He has a lot of experience and he's from Nova Scotia. We just completed a 27-hole drill program in February. We have achieved some very positive results, thanks to these two gentlemen, working together. Perry was on the site all the time and Roger was working with Perry. From the exploration point of view, we have two very experienced geologists, who know the property very well and we're overly excited to have them both.

Dr. Luisa Moreno, a Director, is also on our team. She's more into the mineralogy. She's worked on various projects all over the world, with all different, various minerals. She has a lot of very interesting input and a lot of suggestions, which have helped us achieve our MnSO4 of 99.95% purity, with EV compliant, ultra-high manganese purified products. It's been a delight to work with her input. Our CFO is Jay Richardson, who has a lot of financial experience.

In addition, we recently appointed Robert Tjandra as a Director, who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, which will be a tremendous resource for Manganese X. These are the Directors at the present time.

Allen Alper: Can you tell our readers/investors more about your financial details, share structure?

Martin Kepman: We're financially solid right now. We've been offered other financial opportunities recently, but we declined them. We have 121 million outstanding shares and that's as far as we want to go. We look forward to completing our PEA as well as our environmental baseline project and our upcoming NI 43-101 resource compliant estimate, which will be finished shortly. We're traded on three exchanges, Canada, the United States and in Europe. On four or five European exchanges, were very well followed and known.

Now we must bring home the PEA and prove that we are economically and commercially viable and we're in the right direction. We're also very excited about our PureBiotic joint venture. There are a lot of very promising things going on. We're going to be filing a provisional patent very shortly for metallurgical. That's very exciting because that's going to put us in a different space technically. We're going to have a technical patent on manganese, on purification, which is going to bring our Company to another level.

Allen Alper: Can you also tell us a little bit about some of your major stakeholders?

Martin Kepman: About 60% of our stakeholders are in Europe and 40% Canadian, we have a lot of European participation.

Allen Alper: What about Management? Do you have a stake yourself?

Martin Kepman: Yes, I own a fair number of shares and options. I have not sold one share yet. That's my confidence in the Company. Most of our Team have not sold many shares and we're very excited about where we're going to take this Company in the future.

Allen Alper: The way you're behaving, it sounds like you don’t want to take on a lot of dilution.

Martin Kepman: Well, I feel we have enough dilution right now. We've had people interested in participating in our Company and we have said, "Let's wait for the PEA, let's see where that takes us and then we'll talk."

Allen Alper: Do you have an idea about when the PEA is going to be finalized?

Martin Kepman: I really don't want to make a commitment. We're trying to do it this year. We're really pushing towards year end, if possible, depending on COVID and depending on other circumstances. I don't like to make predictions, but we're really pushing hard and we're trying to select a group that will be able to accelerate the PEA.

Allen Alper: So, you're thinking fourth quarter this year, maybe first quarter next year?

Martin Kepman: I’m only thinking, I'm not committing.

Allen Alper: But that's the target, your goal?

Martin Kepman: Hopefully.

Martin Kepman: We don't like to make too many commitments. We just want to deliver the goods.

Allen Alper: Sounds good. Could you tell our readers/investors the primary reasons they should invest in Manganese X Energy?

Martin Kepman: Great management! We have a product that has extreme potential in the marketplace. We've been very transparent in all our news releases. We have expectations of accomplishing and completing a successful PEA. Our HVAC system and our PureBiotic joint venture, show a lot of potential for our Company. We have a lot of diversifications, where our whole idea is to enhance shareholder value.

Allen Alper: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Martin Kepman: Well, I think we have a very dedicated Team to try to take this program to the finish line and successfully complete it. That's what I really believe.

Allen Alper: Well, that sounds excellent. It looks like you've checked off all your boxes; you have an experienced team, great property, with a great location, very impressive technology assets, with your patents and HVAC system. Manganese is a very important critical metal for batteries, electric vehicles and it fits right in with Biden's defense initiatives.

Martin Kepman: Thank you for having me, Allen. I hope I have given your readers/investors a better insight into our Company and where we're going. Thank you.

Allen Alper: We’ll publish your press releases as they come out so our readers/investors can follow your progress.

Martin Kepman
CEO and Director

Disclaimer | Terms Of Use And Privacy Statement

© Metals News. All rights reserved.