Manganese is a gray-white metal with a pinkish tinge, and is very brittle, but hard. It was discovered 1774 by Johann Gahn. Manganese easily reacts with water and air. On Earth, manganese is never found as a free metal, but it is found in a number of minerals. The most important of these minerals is pyrolusite, the main ore mineral for manganese. Manganese is essential to iron and steel production. The U.S., Japan, and Western Europe are all nearly deficient in economically mineable manganese. South Africa and the Ukraine have over 80% of the world's reserves.

  • Mineral Classification: oxides
  • Chemical Formula:MnO2 (pyrolusite), (polianite)
  • Specific Gravity:4.75
  • Crystal System: tetragonal
  • Color: Black to lighter gray, sometimes bluish
  • Luster: dull, earthy, metallic
  • Streak: Black to bluish black
  • MOHs Hardness:
  • 1-2 (pyrolusite), 6-6.5 (polianite


Over 80% of the known world manganese resources are found in South Africa and Ukraine. Other important manganese deposits are in China, Australia, Brazil, Gabon, India, and Mexico. The United States imports manganese ore because the manganese resources in the U.S. are relatively low in manganese content per ton of ore. Importing these ores is presently more economic than mining them locally.

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