Steel production: manganese enhances tensile strength, stiffness, hardness, toughness, hardenability, wear resistance as well as forging and rolling qualities. In ore production, about 30% of the manganese is used to refine ore and about 70% is used as an alloy in the final product. Currently, around 90% of manganese production is used by the steel industry, with demand growing about 2% per annum.
Battery production: manganese is used as a depolarizer in dry cell batteries and required to make cathodes in the most common lithium-ion battery chemistry Nickel–Manganese-Cobalt (NMC) and Lithium Manganese-Oxide (LMO). High-purity Electrolytic Manganese (EMM) and Electrolytic Manganese Dioxide (EMD) are increasing in demand for the emerging electric vehicle market. Total demand for manganese from lithium-ion batteries was 21MT in 20171 and growth is estimated to be ~7% per annum.
Nutrients: Manganese is one of nine essential nutrients that plants require for growth. Many processes are dependent on this nutrient, including chloroplast formation, photosynthesis, nitrogen metabolism and synthesis of some enzymes. This role of manganese in plants is extremely crucial.
Manganese has other uses in chemical applications and is a vital component of a healthy diet. Small amounts of manganese are consumed in producing micronutrients for fertiliser and animal feed, water treatment chemicals and other chemicals such as those used as a colourant for car undercoat paint, bricks, glass, textiles and tiles.
BASF Catalysts has information on its website about the use of Nickel Cobalt Manganese Oxide (NCM) for cathodes for lithium-ion batteries: