Pensana, partners win grant to develop sustainable rare earths supply chain

20th September 2023 By: Darren Parker - Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

London-listed rare earths miner Pensana, working in partnership with electric vehicle company Polestar, sustainability advisory firm Route2 and the universities of Leeds and Hull, has been awarded £316 643 in grant funding by research and development agency Innovate UK under its Climates programme.  

The partners will collaborate to develop a low-carbon sustainable supply chain for rare earth magnets. 

The project is backed by the UK government and will use Pensana and Polestar's low-carbon environmental, social and governance- (ESG-) focused engineering to review and measure impacts, and identify opportunities, to further reduce carbon in the rare earth products vital for the energy transition. 

UK Business and Trade Minister Nusrat Ghani has highlighted the importance of rare earths in the Climates programme, saying that "... rare earth elements underpin so much of what makes everyday life and work possible, from the cars we drive to the phones we use. It is essential that, in a rapidly changing world, we do all we can to ensure resilient supplies of these and other critical minerals. We are laser-focused on securing robust supply chains, for the growing, green industries that will deliver jobs and prosperity across the UK in the decades to come.” 

The Climates programme is a £15-million fund set up to develop critical mineral supply chains within the UK. Strand 1 was launched in February with a focus on stimulating research on rare earths across the UK. 

“We believe Polestar 0 [a project aimed at eliminating all emissions from the production process] will set the standard for the electric vehicle industry, while Route2 has developed market-leading socioeconomic-impact measurement software,” Pensana sustainability manager Danny McNeice said on September 20. 

Pensana’s approach to sustainability has already been initiated through the publishing of its Blueprint for Sustainable Rare Earths and has, through low-carbon design and renewable power agreements at both its UK and Angolan projects, ensured that it is on track to meet its strategic goal of being a low embedded carbon supplier of rare earth products.