China is tightening its grip on the global supply of processed manganese. It accounts for 90 per cent of the global production of manganese products ranging from steel strengthening additives to battery grade compounds. Dozens of Chinese manganese processors have joined a state backed “Manganese Innovation Alliance” which could become a production cartel. It could control the supply of key products, coordinate prices, control stockpiles and network for mutual financial assistance.
Prices have already started soaring worldwide rattling metal markets and sharpening concerns among automobile makers. High purity forms of manganese are crucial for battery powered vehicles and a Chinese hold on them could potentially cripple industry.