$200m Longonjo financing announcement expected early next year

12th December 2023

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


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An announcement is expected to be made in the first quarter of next year regarding the financing of the $200-million upfront capital expenditure (capex) needed to develop one of the world’s largest undeveloped rare earth mines, at Longonjo, in Angola, one of only three such mines globally with a Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant reserve greater than 100 000 t of neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr).

Longonjo, which is owned by rare earths mining company Penansa, is expected to support the demand growth for magnet metal NdPr, estimated at a 7.5% compound annual growth rate over the next decade, for use in electric vehicles and wind turbines. 

“The team has made great progress with the re-engineering of Longonjo to an upfront capex of $200-million, achieving one of the lowest capital costs for a rare earth project globally, which puts us in a strong position to be able to announce the funding arrangements towards the end of January,” Penansa chairperson Paul Atherley said in an annual general meeting address to shareholders on December 12.

He said the Longonjo financing was being worked on by sovereign wealth fund Fundo Soberano de Angola and financial institution Absa, along with other African multilateral agencies.
Once in full production, following the proposed $100-million expansion in year three, Longonjo will produce about 5% of global NdPr supply. 

Longonjo contains about 166 000 t of NdPr oxide, which is expected to yield an initial 20-year life-of-mine. The near-surface, deeply weathered orebody, has an average mine depth of less than 30 m, with a high average mine grade of 3.73% total rare earth oxides and 0.79% NdPr over the first five years.

Moreover, the mine will have access to affordable hydroelectric power and direct access to the Lobito port through the Benguela rail line.

The upfront capital cost of $200-million, with about $105-million deferred until year three, is related mainly to plant expansion, grid connection and a rail spur, and will secure the yearly production of 40 000 t of radionuclide-free mixed rare earth carbonate containing 4 400 t of NdPr.

The initial Longonjo development supports a fully permitted $250-million downstream separation facility at the Saltend Chemicals Park, in the Humber Freeport, in the UK. This facility will be powered by low-cost offshore wind.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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