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Pensana kickstarts development of the world's first Freeport rare earth processing hub

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(Kitco News) - Pensana announced Monday that following the recent £15 million premium equity raise, early-stage development has commenced on the establishment of its rare earth processing hub at the Saltend Chemicals Park in Humber, UK.

The company said that the Saltend plant would be the first major rare earth separation facility to be constructed in over a decade and the first to be located in a Freeport.

Pensana said it is aiming to establish Saltend as an attractive alternative to mining houses who may otherwise be limited to selling their products to China, having designed the facility to be easily adapted to cater for a range of rare earth feedstocks.

Additionally, the company said it is working closely with contractors and government officials to progress the Longonjo rare earth mining project in Angola while strictly adhering to travel restrictions arising from the global pandemic. 

Pensana noted that the Longonjo project’s workstreams underway include, among others, an ongoing involvement of vendors in the preparations for procurement of long lead items including key kiln, acid plant and comminution equipment, and procurement activities towards establishment of the construction camp.

Pensana said it plans to establish Saltend as an independent, sustainable supplier of the key magnet metal oxides to a market which is currently dominated by China. The US$125 million Saltend facility is being designed to produce circa 12,500 tonnes per annum of rare earth oxides, of which 4,500 tonnes will be neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr), representing around 5% of the world market in 2025. Initial feedstock will be shipped as a clean, high purity mixed rare earth sulphate from the company’s Longonjo rare earth mine in Angola.

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