Pensana progressing activities at Angola project prior to main construction

9th January 2024 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Senior Contributing Editor Online

London-listed Pensana has made significant strides at the Longonjo mine site in Angola ahead of main construction starting later this year.

The company is currently busy with civil works for the camp, the rehabilitation of the access road to the Longonjo railway station and the agricultural demonstration plots under the Livelihood Restoration Programme.

The early-stage development activities are being funded by a $15-million bridging loan provided by Angolan sovereign wealth fund Fundo Soberano de Angola ahead of the main finance.

The 4.5 km road linking the site to the Benguela railway line has been upgraded. The enhanced road features include an improved roadbed substructure, a redefined road profile and rapid drainage systems, the company outlines.

Serving as the primary route for inbound materials during construction and later for reagent import and the export of mixed rare earth carbonate in containers, the road connects the mine to the Longonjo station for rail access to the Port of Lobito for shipping.

The Benguela railway line is part of the Lobito corridor undergoing a $550-million investment from the US government. The investment aims to secure critical minerals across Central Africa to be exported via the Port of Lobito.

Several kilometres of overhead powerlines, together with an underground water supply and effluent disposal system have been installed ahead of the arrival of the 350-person modular camp, which has been assembled at Johannesburg, South Africa and is being relocated to site.

The camp will be the primary operations base for the construction team.

Agricultural demonstration plots have been established by South African agriculture consultants Vuna Agri, as part of the Livelihood Restoration Programme.

The demonstration plots have an area of nine hectares and have now successfully completed their first full season.

The Livelihood Restoration Programme was established to provide replacement land for any displaced farmers and additionally to provide a training base for those persons affected by the project to develop their agricultural skill sets.

The objective is to help local growers and farmers create healthy and sustainable agro-ecosystems, boosting household income in nearby communities, while enhancing overall food security, Pensana avers. This ongoing programme is being conducted in collaboration with local universities with a view to continually improving farming practices.

“We now have over 50 engineering contractors and Longonjo staff working on site in preparation for the commencement of main construction. There has been a very positive reaction to the activities on site amongst the local community, in particular with the creation of well-paid jobs and the successful implementation of the first phase of the livelihood restoration programme,” posits CEO Tim George.

“We have a strong team supporting the main construction which is being managed by MCC – a leading project management team with a track record of delivering projects across Africa, including Angola. ADP, the main contractor is an African minerals specialist in the detailed design, construction and commissioning of modular mineral processing plants with extensive development experience in Angola,” he adds.

At full production, Longonjo will produce about 5% of world production of neodymium and praseodymium in the form of an exported mixed rare earth carbonate.

Pensana also has a fully permitted $250-million downstream separation facility at the Saltend Chemicals Park in the Humber Freeport in the UK.

Financing for each of the Longonjo and Saltend projects is currently under way.