Paris-based miner Eramet will restart production at its manganese mine in Gabon on Thursday. This comes after mining activities were temporarily halted because of a military coup in the country.
On Wednesday, the company had to stop all activities after the army in Gabon claimed they had deposed President Ali Bongo. An Eramet spokesperson told Reuters: “From this morning, all Comilog and Setrag operations have been halted and train transport suspended.” The overnight events drove the company’s shares down by 18% to $68.
Comilog is a manganese mine and Eramet is a majority owner. Setrag is a train transport unit.
Monitoring the ground situation, Eramet issued a statement: “In view of the information available this evening on today’s events in Gabon, the Group has decided to immediately restart rail transport activity and to resume mining operations as of tomorrow morning, Thursday 31 August. Passenger train movements will remain suspended until further notice.”
Eramet is the world’s largest producer of high-grade manganese ore, which is mined at the Moanda mine in Gabon. It produced 7.5 million tonnes of high-grade ore in 2022.
The group added that production at Moanda mine “will have been halted for 24 hours and rail transport for 18 hours”.
Gabon is the world’s second-largest supplier of manganese, a key ingredient in the steelmaking industry. Eramet has played a crucial role in investing in Gabon’s manganese resources. In 2022, the company paid $144m (€132.56m) in taxes and dividends, spent $442m on local purchases and directly employed 8,767 people.
Manganese is one of the most abundant elements, but its production is concentrated in a few countries including Gabon, China, South Africa and Australia. Eramet said at the beginning of 2023 that the global market had a manganese surplus. However, there are growing supply risks around high-purity forms of the metal required by the electric vehicle industry for batteries.