Pensana has started early-stage development of its $125m rare earth processing hub at the Saltend Chemicals Park in Humber, UK.

The move follows the recent £15m premium equity raise, which was supported by the company’s major shareholders.

Claimed to be the first major rare earth separation facility to be built in more than a decade in a Freeport, the Saltend plant would serve as an alternative to mining houses that may otherwise be limited to selling their products to China.

The Saltend facility will have the capacity to produce about 12,500tpa of rare earth oxides.

Of this, 4,500t will be neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr), representing around 5% of the estimated world market in 2025.

Pensana chairman Paul Atherley said: “We continue to work closely with our application for funding from the Automotive Transformation Fund, a long-term programme designed to enable the UK to build the world’s most comprehensive and compelling electrified vehicle supply chain, supporting over 160,000 jobs.”

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By GlobalData

Pensana is working with engineering group Wood to advance the front-end engineering design (FEED) for the Saltend facility and its Longonjo rare earth mining project in Angola.

The FEED work for the projects is planned to be completed this October.

Construction firm pxGroup is currently preparing the Saltend site for construction.

Pensana plans to establish Saltend as an independent and sustainable supplier of magnet metal oxides to the market.