Pensana Rare Earths, based in London, UK, has successfully produced a neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr)-rich mixed rare earth carbonate (MREC) from recent test work being undertaken at a Perth, Australia-based lab using material from Pensana’s Longonjo rare earth project in Angola. Pensana considers this mixed combination to be of a higher value to a broader market while maintaining a high purity.
Test work is ongoing, and is set to support an upcoming bankable feasibility study. In addition, the industry experts Wood Group and Nagrom have developed a flowsheet to produce a high-grade MREC with NdPr that comprises 33.5% of the total rare earths content.
“This is an important milestone for the project as it confirms the potential to produce a marketable higher value NdPr rich mixed rare earth carbonate,” stated Tim George, Pensana CEO.
The company is choosing to produce a high-grade MREC as it is a much higher purity product with higher value than the concentrate product in Pensana’s preliminary feasibility study (PFS). MREC also has a broader market and wider scope of applications. Importantly, industry specialists have determined the MREC product from Longonjo compares favourably with the main products being produced and sold throughout China.
“We are now in a position to commence discussions with potential offtake parties in Japan, Korea and Europe in addition to the wide range of potential customers in China,” added George.
Test work is ongoing and Pensana is looking to finalise its preferred process route to provide data for engineering and production cost estimations for the project’s bankable feasibility study (BFS). The upcoming study will highlight the potential for the Longonjo project to be the first major rare earth mine in over a decade which can also offer a sustainable supply of mixed rare earth carbonate.