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Saltend Chemicals Park rare-earth oxide separation facility, UK/Angola – update

Image of mounds of rare earths

4th November 2022

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Saltend Chemicals Park rare earth oxide (REO) separation facility.

Location
Saltend Chemicals Park, in Humber, Yorkshire, in England, in the UK. The The Longonjo operation is located in Angola.

Project Owner/s
Rare earths developer Pensana (formerly Pensana Rare Earths).

Project Description
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 Saltend refinery will be the first major rare earths separation facility to be built in more than a decade. Pensana completed a front-end engineering design (FEED) and value engineering study for the rare earth separation hub at the Saltend Chemicals Park in May 2022.

The FEED and value engineering study envision production of 12 500 t/y of total REO, including about 5 000 t/y of neodymium and praseodymium oxides. The project will primarily treat material sourced from the Longonjo mine, in Angola, which will comprise an openpit mine and a flotation concentration plant, to produce mixed rare-earth sulphate (MRES).

The Longonjo operation will treat 1.5-million tonnes of ore a year, producing about 40 000 t/y of MRES for export to the Saltend refinery.

The rare earth processing facility will be the world’s first being powered by offshore wind.

Potential Job Creation
The project will create more than 450 jobs during construction and more than 125 direct jobs once in production.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has an estimated after-tax estimated net present value of $3.6-billion and an internal rate of return of 77%, with a payback of 1.3 years.

Capital Expenditure
Total preproduction capital expenditure amounts to $494-million. The Saltend refinery capital cost is estimated at $195-million, while the Longonjo mine and processing infrastructure will total just under $300-million.

Planned Start/End Date
Full production is targeted for 2024.

Latest Developments
Pensana is delighted to have progressed into the construction phase at its Longonjo rare earths mining project, in Angola, and its Saltend processing hub, in the UK.

The project delivery teams, led by Hamish Westwater for Saltend and Kevin Botha for Longonjo, are working closely with the main contractors on the long-lead items and the other preparatory work ahead of the main construction.

“Both projects are fully permitted [and] operationally robust, with fit-for-purpose technical solutions for Angola and the UK. The value engineering exercise we undertook early this year has given us confidence that we can maintain the overall project timeline and budget in an environment of significant inflationary pressure," Pensana CEO Tim George has said.

At Longonjo, orders have been placed for the fabrication and delivery of various long-lead items, including a tailings storage facility, power supply and substation, an acid plant, a calciner and dryers, a floatation plant, reagents handling, a comminution circuit, thickeners, earthworks and civils, filters and nanofiltration, and potable water supply.

Further, fabrication of the construction camp and associated infrastructure upgrades to the existing exploration camp are under way.

At Saltend, engineering firm Wood has taken on the role of principal designer and principal contractor. The firm has finalised the process design and optimised the site layout plan.

The long-lead item packages being executed for Saltend include fibre-glass-reinforced plastic (FRP) settlers, agitators, FRP tanks, bagging units and scrubbers.

Wood has also mobilised its early construction management team and appointed the early enabling works contracts for site preparation, pioneering facilities, security and the third-party works by Yorkshire Water.

Over-the-fence service packages being supplied by px Group, which include tie-ins to power, water, steam, compressed air and effluent, are also under way.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Wood, SRK Consulting, Snowden Mining Industry Consultants and Paradigm Project Management (FEED and value engineering study); px Group (construction); PPM (owners representative) Wood (principal and designer and contractor) and Snowden Mining Industry Consultants (capital expenditure estimate, the operating cost budget and the project schedule).

Contact Details for Project Information
Pensana, email contact@pensana.co.uk.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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