Rare earth specialist Pensana has been buoyed by governmental recognition of its Saltend refining plans as being of strategic importance.
Chair of the inward investing London-listed company, Paul Atherley, met with Business and Trade Minister Nussrat Ghani ahead of inaugural Mineral Security Partnership talks with US Under Secretary Jose Fernandez last week. The company, which is behind a £150 million separation plant at Saltend and sustainable mining operations in Angola, has been nominated a partner of the new platform, with the UK, US and international allies on board.
Mr Atherley told how the meeting highlighted how Saltend’s development would be an important step in supporting the UK automotive supply chain, which employs more than 780,000 people, as it transitions to electric vehicles. Support from the UK and US governments is being sought for the project, where spades are in the ground.
A total of 150 high skilled jobs are to be created at the plant, which will kickstart domestic magnet metal provision for components for electric vehicles and wind turbines.
Mr Atherley said: “By 2030 the UK is expected to have transitioned from being a major European producer of internal combustion engines to be a world leader in the manufacture of electric drive units, producing three million annually, with a large proportion destined for export. Without a secure magnet metal supply chain this is under threat.
“Pensana is establishing an independent, sustainable rare earth supply chain with mid-stream processing to produce magnet metal in the UK. The Saltend project will deliver 450 jobs during construction and 150 high value jobs in operation with a significant opportunity for further expansion. The facility is specifically designed to be flexible allowing it to process feedstock from the Longonjo project in Angola along with feedstock from other different rare earth mining projects.
“The Minister assured Pensana that the project was of strategic importance for the UK and that support for the project would be raised during talks with Under Secretary Jose Fernandez during the Mineral Security Partnership discussions held during the London Metal Exchange Week.
“The goal of the MSP is to catalyse investment from the private sector and key government partners for ‘strategic mining, processing, and recycling opportunities that adhere to the highest environmental, social, and governance standards,’ focused particularly on the priority critical minerals needed for core technologies such as electric vehicles and clean technologies.”
Pensana is a Humber Freeport forerunner. The transatantic boost comes after another major Saltend investment was flagged at Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s US trade visit this summer. Meld Energy’s £180 million hydrogen production plans were announced as part of the visit, with the British firm heavuly backed by Fortune 500 constituent World Fuel Services Corporation.
Original artice – https://business-live.co.uk/all-about/yorkshire-humber