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Saltend Chemicals Park selected as location for sustainable rare earth processing facility

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Global Mining Review,

Pensana has selected the Saltend Chemicals Park in the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership as the proposed site for the UK’s first rare earth processing facility with a view to establishing the world’s first fully sustainable magnet metal supply chain.

The Saltend facility would become one of only two major producers outside China of rare earth oxides used in the manufacture of powerful permanent magnets, critical to the burgeoning offshore wind and electric vehicle industries.

Lynas Corporation of Australia is currently the world’s largest non-China producer of magnet metal rare earth oxides from its facility in Malaysia.

Gerry Grimstone, UK Minister for Investment, said: “We very much welcome the proposal to establish a fully sustainable rare earth oxide magnet metal processing facility in the Humber region. This facility is an important step in the establishment of a permanent magnet supply chain in the UK which could support a range of industries important to building back greener and our Net Zero ambitions.”

The Saltend Chemicals Park is a cluster of world class chemicals and renewable energy businesses including BP Petrochemicals, Ineos, Nippon Gohsei and Air Products, strategically located on the Humber estuary, a gateway to Europe and the UK’s busiest ports complex.

The 370 acre site, managed by the px Group, has had £500 million of investment over recent years. The px Group provides a range of services including power, water, reagents, waste disposal, centralised control and administration which will allow the company to focus on the operational aspects of the facility.

Chairman, Paul Atherley, commented: “The Saltend Chemicals Park offers an exceptional range of services allowing us to plug into power, water, reagent supplies and services and to recruit a highly skilled local workforce at internationally competitive rates.

“It is very clear that it is no longer acceptable for British and European companies to import the raw materials critical to the Green economy from unsustainable sources.

“The Saltend facility has the potential to become a world class producer of rare earth oxides and to help establish a sustainable supply chain for the manufacture of powerful permanent magnets critical for the offshore wind and electric vehicle industries in the UK and Europe.”

The company is looking to commence development of the Longonjo mine in Angola in the first quarter of next year and bring it online as the first major rare earth mine in over a decade.

By importing mixed rare earth sulphates from Longonjo, which is being established to international standards as one of the world’s most sustainable rare earth mines, and processing them into separated magnet metal oxides in the UK, for the first time customers can purchase these critical raw materials with confidence that they have been sourced and processed sustainably.

Wood Group and the Company are working closely with the px Group to finalise the scoping study of the proposed facility which is expected to highlight the international competitiveness of location particularly in relation to power, labour and reagents costs.

Detailed discussions with local councils and experienced planning agents have confirmed that subject to a final investment decision and funding being available, the necessary planning permission for the proposed UK facility can potentially be obtained with sufficient time for it to be constructed contemporaneously with the Longonjo mine development.

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