Manganese Ore Industry

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Manganese Ore Industry


the industry of the extraction and dressing of manganese ores. Manganese ore deposits are relatively widespread; they are known in more than 40 countries. The USSR leads the world in explored manganese ore reserves, as well as in manganese ore extraction. There are no rich manganese deposits in any developed capitalist countries.

Manganese ores are used in various sectors of industry, such as metallurgy, chemistry, ceramics, and glassmaking, and manganese compounds are used in the pharmaceutical industry. The main consumer of manganese ores is ferrous metallurgy, which consumes up to 95 percent of world output. The addition of manganese in the smelting of iron ore facilitates the desulfurization of pig iron and the liquefaction of slag, which removes up to 60 percent of the sulfur in pig iron. Manganese is an alloying element in the preparation of special alloys in nonferrous metallurgy.

The manganese ore industry in Russia originated in the 18th century in the Urals. The mining of high-grade ores began in Chiatura (Georgia) in 1879 and in Nikopol’ (Ukraine) in 1886. Acidic, carbonate, and mixed ores are distinguished among these deposits; the acidic ores are of greatest industrial value. According to chemical composition, the Nikopol’ ore is of slightly lower grade than the Chiatura ore, but it is more lumpy, which is important in metallurgical smelting processes.

The large export of manganese ore was due to the poor development of the metallurgical and chemical industries in prerevolutionary Russia and to the proximity of manganese ore deposits to European markets. In 1913 the Nikopol’ and Chiatura mines produced 1,245,000 tons of high-grade ore (see Table 1); 1,194,000 tons were exported.

Table 1. Extraction of manganese ore in the USSR (tons)

A sweeping modernization of operating mines and construction of new mines and ore-dressing plants, as well as centralization of the ore dressing and power industries, have been carried out in the USSR. The reconstruction of mines and the mechanization of production processes ensured a substantial increase in labor productivity and output and a reduction in the cost of ore production. It also facilitated full satisfaction of the demand for manganese ore on the part of the developing metallurgical and chemical industries in the European part of the country. At the same time, the construction of large metallurgical plants in the East demanded a local ore supply. Ore processing was intensified in the Northern Urals (Polunochnoe and other deposits) and Central Kazakhstan (Atasu Raion). As a result, the metallurgical industry in the eastern regions of the USSR obtained the required quantity of manganese ore. The exploration of a relatively large carbonate ore reserve at the Usinsk deposit in Siberia (Kuznetskii Alatau) has been extended.

After the Great Patriotic War (1941-45), concurrent with the restoration of damaged mines and ore-dressing plants, the boundaries of the existing deposits were considerably extended and large new ore-bearing areas were discovered in Nikopol’ Raion. The Bol’shoi Tokmak manganese ore deposit was opened up in Zaporozh’e Oblast, Ukrainian SSR, along the left bank of the Dnieper, where vast reserves of predominantly carbonate ores were concentrated. Relatively large reserves of acidic and mixed manganese ores are extracted from the northern part of the Nikopol’ basin. In 1972, Nikopol’ Raion produced 75 percent of the national ore output. Facilities put into operation in Chiatura included new mines equipped with ore-dressing plants, a central final concentration plant for processing low-grade manganese ores into higher-grade ores, a central flotation plant, a plant for dressing carbonate ores, and a number of enterprises designed for improving the grade of ores. Extensive research has been carried out on the rationalization of manganese ore output, the use of slurry and low-grade ores, and the use of manganese as an agricultural fertilizer.

Manganese ore is extracted primarily by the open-cut mining method (64 percent of the total output in the USSR, 1972). The stripping process uses rotor complexes with an output of 1,250-7,000 m3/hr, excavators with a bucket capacity of 3-8 m3, and draglines with a bucket capacity of up to 25 m3; excavators with a bucket capacity of 2.0-4.6 m3 are used for the actual mining operations. Cutter-loaders and screening and purifying complexes are used in the underground extraction system.

The explored manganese ore supply in the USSR not only satisfies the domestic needs of the country and ensures the formation of reserves but also facilitates the export of some of the ore.

Other socialist countries have small deposits of low-grade manganese ores. In Rumania the major deposits currently being exploited are located in the eastern Carpathians; a new carbonate ore deposit is being explored near Varna, Bulgaria. Small manganese ore deposits are found in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and the German Democratic Republic. Some of them are already being worked, but the output does not meet the demand; it is met by imports, mainly from the USSR. Low-grade manganese ores are abundant in Cuba. China has some manganese ore deposits, but they contain mostly low-grade ores (18-22 percent Mn).

After the USSR, the countries with the largest reserves and output of manganese ore are the Republic of South Africa (3.4 million tons in 1972), Gabon (1.9 million tons), Brazil (1.8 million tons), India (1.7 million tons), and Australia (1.1 million tons). Low-grade manganese ores are mined in Japan. Small manganese ore deposits are widespread on the islands of Oceania. Deposits have been found in Indonesia (Java), Mexico, Guyana, and other countries, but their reserves are negligible and the quality generally poor; many of these deposits are being exploited. High-grade manganese ore deposits have been discovered in the Ivory Coast and Upper Volta.

A high degree of monopolization of the manganese ore industry is prevalent in capitalist countries. More than two-thirds of the industry is controlled by American, British, and French metallurgical monopolies. Japanese companies have recently increased their penetration of this sector.

Capitalist countries with highly developed metallurgical and chemical industries and no manganese reserves of their own (the USA, Great Britain, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Japan, Norway, and Belgium) are vying for high-grade manganese ore sources. Approximately 90 percent of the manganese ore produced is imported by these countries. The USA meets more than 90 percent of its demand for manganese ore through imports, mainly from Brazil (about 40 percent), and is improving its technological processes, reducing the rate of manganese consumption in steel smelting, and intensifying geological research operations for the development of new deposits. American monopolies are expressing a considerable interest in the possible industrial use of ferromanganese concretions discovered along ocean bottoms. Projects have been developed and operations outlined for extracting these ores along the California coast.


Betekhtin, A. G. Promyshlennye margantsevye rudy SSSR. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946.
Trebovaniia promyshlennosti k kachestvu mineral’nogo syr’ia (Spravochnik dlia geologov), fasc. 22. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947.
Zverev, L. V., and G. I. Kontorovich. Marganets, 2nd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1960.
Bykhover, N. A. “Marganets.” In his book Ekonomika mineral’nogo syr’ia. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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