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Longonjo neodymium/praseodymium project, Angola – update

Location map of the Longonjo project

Photo by Pensana

5th April 2024

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 Port of Lobito in the Atlantic Ocean.

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 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 2.55% neodymium/praseodymium oxide for 166 000 t neodymium/praseodymium and total rare-earth oxides (TREOs) 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 TREOs and up to 4 400 t of neodymium/praseodymium oxides. This equates 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
£217-million for the fully permitted mine and processing facilities.

Planned Start/End Date
Longonjo is expected to produce 20 000 t of MREC starting in 2026 and 40 000 t of MREC from 2029 onwards following the planned expansion.

Latest Developments
Pensana has reported that preparatory works are advancing smoothly, with the main construction expected to start in May 2024 and cold commissioning to follow in August 2025.

The detailed design and procurement documentation for other main long-lead time and critical path items, such as the thickeners and flotation columns in the concentrator section, along with key equipment in the recovery/MREC section, such as the sulphuric acid plant, have been completed. Orders will be placed with the selected vendors shortly.

Contractor Grupo Nov has completed the civils and services connections for the initial section of the 316-person modular camp. The $1.3-million camp has been fabricated off site. 

All site access roads have been completed within the licence area. A 5 000 ℓ potable water tank is ready for installation to support the construction camp and the future plant facilities. 

Pensana has said that high priority is being given to community relations and, in particular, the resettlement action and livelihoods restoration plans, which are progressing according to plan. 

It has also reported that the agricultural demonstration plots are in their second year and are generating promising baseline data, providing the opportunity to train local farmers in the latest agricultural methods.

Construction of the mine and processing plant will start in May 2024, while commissioning of the various circuits will start in March 2025, continuing until final commissioning in April 2026. 

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
ADP (main contractor); MCC (main construction); NCP International (equipment); and Grupo Nov (contractor).

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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