Pensana plans to build a $125-million sustainable rare earth separation facility at the Saltend Chemicals Park in Humber, UK. Targeted annual production is around 12,500 tons of rare earth oxides, including 4,500 tons of magnet metal rare earth oxides (NdPr), which would represent approximately 5% of the 2025 projected world demand.
The Saltend plant will purify rare earth sulfates imported from the company’s Longonjo mine in Angola.
Pensana says Saltend has the potential to become the first major separation facility to be established in over a decade—one of only three major producers outside China—at a time when Europe depends on China for 98% of its rare earth magnets.
Saltend has received first-phase progression from the UK government’s £1-billion Automotive Transformation Fund, which seeks to support the national transition to electric vehicles.
UK engineering experts the Wood Group designed the Longonjo mine in Angola to international standards, featuring hydroelectric power and a tailings storage facility to meet the recommendations of the Church of England Pensions Board and ICMM guidelines.
Pensana is also in active discussions with third parties for the additional supply of sustainably sourced rare earth carbonates. Once in production, Pensana will look to expand production capacity when additional feedstock becomes available.
Through teaming up with alloy makers and magnet manufacturers, the company is looking to establish a 3,000-ton-per-year metal facility at Saltend to supply European automotive and wind turbine OEMs.
Pensana is exploring the use of blue hydrogen generated by Equinor at Saltend Chemicals Park to recycle an addressable annual market of 4,000 tons of permanent magnets from end-of-life EV motors and wind turbine nacelles.
Source: Pensana via Green Car Congress