London-listed Pensana has announced that its proposed rare earth processing facility at the Saltend Chemicals Park has received first phase progression from the UK government’s £1-billion Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF).
The ATF seeks to support the national transition to electric vehicles (EVs).
This UK’s electrified supply chain opportunity has an estimated value of £24-billion over the next five years.
The ATF is a long-term programme designed to enable the UK to build the world’s most comprehensive and compelling EV supply chain, supporting more than 160 000 jobs and creating export opportunities.
The fund is part of Advanced Propulsion Centre UK, which provides funding, support and insight to help the nation’s automotive industry transition towards a net zero future.
The project proposal, under ATF’s focus on rare earth element processing for magnetic engine drivetrain components, supporting the UK’s transition to EVs, is anchored by the $125-million investment in the project proposed at Saltend within the Zero Carbon Humber cluster in Humber, Yorkshire.
Pensana’s investment will generate about 100 skilled jobs and will be the world’s first major rare earth separation facility to be established in over a decade, supplying critical magnet metals into advanced manufacturing industries, including for the manufacture of EVs and offshore wind turbines.
The Saltend Chemicals Park is a cluster of world-class chemicals and renewable-energy businesses, including BP Chemicals, Ineos, Nippon Gohsei and Air Products.
The project entails the development of a 4 500 t/y rare-earth oxide separation facility, which will produce neodymium and praseodymium.
Recently granted freeport status provides the Humber zone with business tax and customs relief, as well as other potential tax incentives which further assist the company to deliver sustainably sourced, high-value manufacturing products to European and international supply chains.
Pensana chairperson Paul Atherley says the company welcomes the first phase progression of its project proposal to the ATF and plans to work with government on the establishment of one of the world’s first mine-to-metal supply chains – which will be central to the transition to EVs in the UK and an important step on the journey to Pensana’s net zero future.
Pensana is also developing the Longonjo rare earths mine in Angola.