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Longonjo neodymium/praseodymium project, Angola – update

Image of mounds of rare earths

3rd November 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Longonjo neodymium/praseodymium project.

Location
Huambo, Angola – 4 km from a modern rail line leading directly into the Atlantic Ocean Port of Lobito.

Project Owner/s
Pensana Rare Earths holds an 84% interest in Longonjo through its 84% holding in Angola-registered company Ozango Minerais, which, in turn, owns 100% of the mining licence.

The Angolan government holds a 10% interest and the company’s Angolan partners hold the remaining 6%.

Project Description
Longonjo is one of the biggest rare earths deposits in the world, with an initial 20-year mine life.

The project has total proven and probable reserves of 30.1-million tonnes grading 0.55% neodymium/praseodymium oxide for 166 000 t neodymium/praseodymium and total rare-earth oxide (TREO) of 767 000 t.

The mine execution plan is based on a staged development of the mine and processing facilities.

At full production, once the phased development is complete, the Longonjo mine will target production of up to 38 000 t/y of mixed rare-earth double sulphate or mixed rare-earth carbonate (MREC), containing 14 000 t of TREO and up to 4 400 t of neodymium/praseodymium oxide, equating to about 5% of the worldwide production of neodymium/praseodymium oxides a year for downstream processing or to be sold on the international market.

Initial feedstock will be shipped as a clean, high-purity mixed rare-earth sulphate to Pensana’s Saltend rare-earth oxide separation facility, in the UK.

Potential Job Creation
The mine will employ about 650 people during construction and will create 420 permanent high-value jobs.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure
Initial capital costs are estimated at $200-million.

Planned Start/End Date
The project can be put into production in less than 18 months.

Latest Developments
Pensana's engineering team has successfully completed a modular redesign of the Longonjo neodymium and praseodymium mine and processing facility, with a total capital expenditure (capex) of $200-million.

In an update on the financing of the Longonjo and Saltend projects – the latter being in the UK – on October 31, the company revealed that financial institution Absa, which had been mandated as the lead arranger for a $120-million loan facility, had provided high-level commercial debt terms, which include support from the South African Export Credit Agency.

The company stated that the Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA) and a pan-African multilateral development financial institution are working to provide the $80-million equity investment required to support the debt facility.

The FSDEA has provided a $15-million bridging loan facility toward the $80-million investment, which is available to meet operating cash flow requirements to facilitate early-stage development and the route to main finance.

An updated mineral investment contract is being worked on, which could potentially include various additional tax incentives, including a reduction in the rate and deferral of the payment of the corporate income tax rate, along with a reduction in the tax applicable to the distribution of profits and dividends.

Pensana has said it is in advanced discussions with several parties for the offtake of the marketable, radionuclide-free MREC and is expected to be in a position to sign up to 100% of the production of the high-value, clean MREC from the Longonjo processing facility.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
None stated.

Contact Details for Project Information
Pensana Rare Earths, email admin@pensana.co.uk orir@pensana.co.uk.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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