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Angola wealth fund buys into Pensana’s green narrative

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Pensana is constructing Saltend in the UK as an independent and sustainable processing hub, supplying the key magnet metal oxides to a market which is currently dominated by China. Image credit: Pensana

Angola wealth fund buys into Pensana’s green narrative  

Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA), the Angolan Sovereign Wealth Fund, has made a further equity investment of USD10-million into the development of Pensana’s Longonjo rare earth project in Angola.

Pensana is developing Longonjo in central Angola while at the same time building the world’s first rare earth’s processing hub at Saltend, in Humber Freeport in the UK.

Saltend is set to become the world’s first rare earth processing facility powered by offshore wind, producing the key components for electric vehicle and offshore wind original equipment manufacturers with low-embedded carbon.

The FSDEA funds will be directed towards the Longonjo project’s early works programme in central Angola which is now underway. This includes the establishment of the construction camp; site offices and associated infrastructure ahead of main plant construction activity in 2023; completion of the detailed design for the concentrator and mixed rare earth sulphate plants; mine HT/LT substation detailed design and hydro-power transmission line link establishment works; rail-side off-loading facilities for construction materials and agricultural livelihood restoration activities.

The investment follows FSDEA’s previous investments in Pensana over the past two years and will increase the fund’s equity holding in the company to 24.42%.

Diversifying Angola’s economy

Carlos Alberto Lopes, the chairman of FSDEA, says that the additional investment is an expression from the Angolan Sovereign Wealth Fund of its continuous support for the Longonjo project. “The investment proves Angola’s participation in a sector of crucial importance for the Green Economies narrative, as well as for the positive impact it will have for Angola, from the socioeconomic point of view,” says Lopes.

According to Pensana Chairman Paul Atherley the funds will enable the recently appointed project delivery team to accelerate development of the Longonjo project.

“The ongoing support for the project by the Angolan Sovereign Wealth Fund demonstrates the Angolan government’s commitment to Longonjo. It also highlights the economic and social potential of this flagship project, as part of efforts to diversify the Angolan economy away from oil and gas towards mining, tourism, and agriculture,” says Atherley.

Pensana’s plans stretches further than Angola. The company aims to develop Saltend in the UK as an independent and sustainable processing hub, supplying the key magnet metal oxides to a market which is currently dominated by China.

The USD195-million Saltend facility is being designed to produce 12,500 tonnes per annum of rare earth oxides, of which 4,500–5,000 tonnes will be neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr), representing over 5% of the world market in 2025.

Pensana’s plug and play facility is located within the world class Saltend Chemicals Park, a cluster of leading chemicals and renewable energy businesses in the Humber Freeport and will create over 500 jobs during construction and over 125 direct jobs once in production.

It will be the first major separation facility to be established in over a decade and will become one of only three major producers located outside China. Pensana is aiming to establish Saltend as an attractive alternative for mining companies 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.

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