Pensana breaks ground at rare earths processing facility

July 27, 2022

Pensana breaks ground at its rare earth processing facility at Saltend Chemicals Park (Courtesy Pensana Plc)
Pensana breaks ground at its rare earth processing facility at Saltend Chemicals Park (Courtesy Pensana Plc)

Rare earth metals company Pensana Plc, headquartered in London, UK, reports that it has broken ground at its rare earth processing facility at Saltend Chemicals Park, located in the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership in Yorkshire, where it plans to create what it states is the world’s first rare earth processing facility powered by offshore wind, producing key components for electric vehicle and offshore wind original equipment manufacturers with low-embedded carbon.

Following a twelve-month construction period, the $195 million state-of-the-art plant aims to start production in late 2023, before ramping up to full capacity in 2024. Pensana hopes to produce 12,500 tonnes of separated rare earths, including 4,500 tonnes of the critically important magnet metal rare earths, which represent over 5% of the world’s supply. Saltend will employ over 450 people during the twelve-month construction phase and expects to create 125 jobs.

The company states that it has secured funding under the UK Government’s £1 billion Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) to support the development of the Saltend rare earths processing facility. The ATF is a funding programme developed to promote the creation of a high-value end-to-end electrified automotive supply chain in the UK. It is an important mechanism to reach targets set out in the UK Government’s ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution and its recent Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

During the ground-breaking ceremony, the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP attended and announced the UK Government’s Critical Minerals Strategy, which details the Government’s approach to securing technology-critical minerals and metals and is an important step towards securing a resilient, long-term supply chain to deliver a green industrial revolution for the UK.

“It is a great privilege to have broken ground on the world’s first independent and sustainable rare earths separation plant,” commented Paul Atherley, Pensana chairman. “This is a huge milestone for both Pensana, the Humber region and the UK, as part of our ambition to establish a critical magnet metals supply chain to secure the green energy transition.”

“Securing ATF funding is a key development, demonstrating the UK Government’s support for this important project in line with the newly launched Critical Minerals Strategy,” he continued. “Pensana is set to play a vital role in transforming the UK’s electric vehicle and offshore wind industries, by producing low embedded carbon magnet metals and creating high-value local jobs.”

Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, stated, “Pensana breaking ground today has been made possible in part through government support and shows how our plans to secure an internationally competitive electric vehicle supply chain in the UK continues to gain momentum. This incredible facility will be the only of its kind in Europe and will help secure the resilience of Britain’s supplies into the future.”

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