Pensana has completed a FEED and value engineering study (VES) into establishing a UK-based independent and sustainable supply of the magnet metal rare earths vital for the electric vehicle, offshore wind turbine and other strategic industries.
According to Pensana Chairman, Paul Atherley, completion of this study is an-other important step for Pensana in its plans to establish an independent and sustainable rare earth processing hub in the UK. The strong fundamentals and robust economics provide a solid platform for the financing and development of the project.
“The growing concerns over supply chain resilience and the burgeoning demand for magnet metals from the electric vehicle and offshore wind sectors is reflected in the growing customer demand for our products,” said the chairman.
The study outlines the plans to establish the world’s first independent and sustainable magnet metal rare earth separation hub at the Saltend Chemicals Park in the Humber Freeport, UK, treating material sourced from the Longonjo Operations in Angola and third-party feedstock from a variety of other sources.
Saltend is targeting production of 12 500 tpy of separated rare earths, including 4500 – 5000 t of neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) oxides, representing around 5% of the projected world demand in 2025. The study has been prepared by Wood Plc, SRK Consulting, Snowden Mining Industry Consultants (Pty) Limited and Paradigm Project Management (Pty) Ltd.
The Saltend Refinery
The Saltend Refinery will be the first major new rare earth concentrate facility to be established in over a decade once commissioned and would be one of only three major producers located outside China when it comes into full production in 2024.
Benefitting from Humber’s Freeport status, the Saltend Refinery will be a major step in establishing a magnet metal supply chain outside China and has the potential to bring high-value manufacturing jobs back to the UK. The US$195 million facility will create over 150 permanent high value jobs, with over 500 jobs during the construction phase and an estimated 750 indirect jobs created as a consequence of the investment.
Saltend is set to become one of the world’s largest rare earth processing hubs, eventually importing sustainably sourced feedstock from around the globe, and processing it into magnet metal and other rare earth products largely for export to customers in South East Asia, Europe and the US, as companies look to re-orientate their supply chains in light of recent geopolitical events.