London-listed Pensana has advised that it is on track to re-engineer the Longonjo project, in Angola, to reduce its upfront capital cost to $200-million and complete financial due diligence for main financing of the project in the coming quarter.
The redesign will see Longonjo produce a standardised and highly marketable, radionuclide-free mixed rare earth carbonate.
A revised execution plan allows for staged mine development, which reduces the upfront capital cost.
Pensana first planned to invest $300-million for the development of the Longonjo mine and processing infrastructure.
To meet the financier’s due diligence requirements, Pensana has re-engaged selected vendors of major and long lead items to provide updated quotations.
Major shareholder Angolan sovereign investment fund FSDEA will provide an immediate $15-million loan facility as part of a broader $80-million investment towards development of the mine, as well as to provide the equity component for a proposed debt facility.
In turn, Absa Bank has been mandated to arrange a $120-million debt facility, which, together with the $80-million in funding, will see the mine and processing facilities through to commissioning.
Meanwhile, site infrastructure development continues, with earthworks being undertaken by Group Nov.
Pensana has appointed ADP Group, which forms part of metallurgical plant specialist company Lycopodium Group, to its engineering team. ADP will work with hydrometallurgy engineering and modular fabrication company Pro Process to implement the detailed design of the re-engineered Longonjo project.
Longonjo is targeting production of 38 000 t/y of mixed rare earth sulphate, containing 14 000 t of total rare earth oxides and 4 400 t of neodymium and praseodymium oxide for downstream processing or export to the international market.