May 23 (Reuters) - Manganese prices on the spot market in Europe jumped to near one-year highs this month on supply concerns fuelled by a longer-than-expected disruption at a key Australian supplier.

Traders quoted prices of manganese elect, or electrolytic manganese flake , ranging around $2,115 per metric ton in the European spot market, its highest since June 2023, according to Reuters reporting.


A cyclone in March shut operations at South32's Groote Eylandt Mining Co (GEMCO) unit in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia.

In April, South32 said it would take about a year to restart exports at the facility. It owns 60% of the mine, with Anglo American owning the rest.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 20,000 tonnes of manganese — mainly used to strengthen steel and in electric vehicle batteries — was produced globally in 2023.

The GEMCO mine is a key supply source for Asian manganese smelters, accounting for nearly 15% of high-grade (over 40% of manganese content) global supply, and is the world's second-largest manganese mine after Eramet Comilog in Gabon.


China, the world's largest producer of steel, saw prices for silico-manganese, rise to their highest since Sept. 27, 2023 after news about the GEMCO outage.

Additionally, supplies from South Africa, the top manganese producer, have been experiencing disrupted shipments due to logistical challenges at state freight rail operator Transnet, said Bank of America in a note.


While the manganese industry will look to increase production, it is unlikely to be sufficient, said Simon Henochsberg, strategy director at mining company Eramet .

Eramet has "little flexibility to increase ore transportation in the short-term," Henochsberg added.

Some high-cost miners may ramp up production to capitalise on the likelihood that prices will likely stay elevated, said OM Holdings, a manganese and silicon alloy company.

(Reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad and Seher Dareen in Bengaluru; Editing by Tasim Zahid)