Firebird Metals’ subsidiary Hunan Firebird Battery Technologies has secured a safety permit for stage one of its battery-grade manganese sulphate (MnSO₄) plant in China.

This development marks a significant step forward in the project’s progression towards construction and operation.

The facility will use third-party manganese ore to produce high-purity manganese sulphate.

In China, a total of eight major permits are required for the construction and operation of such a plant.

These include permits for project initiation, environmental compliance, safety, energy, water and soil monitoring, workplace health and safety, social stability, and building and construction.

The permit applications can be processed simultaneously with feasibility studies, engineering assessments, and financing activities.

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The most critical permits to secure are those related to environmental, safety, and energy concerns.

With the recent acquisition of the project safety permit, Firebird Metals anticipates that the remaining two permits will be granted before the end of the financial year.

Following the expected final investment decision (FID) in the second half of 2024, the company will be poised to immediately commence construction.

The construction phase is estimated to last between 12 and 15 months, positioning the plant to begin operations by late 2025.

This timeline is contingent upon the successful completion of all necessary permits and the FID.

Firebird managing director Peter Allen said: “As we continue to efficiently advance the necessary permits for our battery grade manganese sulphate plant, I am pleased to announce that we have received the first of three critical permits, being the safety permit, and expect the remaining two permits to be received by the end of June.

“We are moving at a rapid pace on the ground in China and that is due to the hard work of our leading manganese team and the strong level of in-country support we have and continue to receive.

“We expect to make a final investment decision in the second half of 2024, immediately commence construction activities and work extremely hard towards commencing operations in late 2025.”