Wood to probe UK magnetic metals processing capacity

Renews – Pensana Rare Earths PLC has commissioned Wood Group to look at the potential for processing magnetic metals for offshore wind in the UK. 

It is hoped the research will ultimately create the world’s first sustainable supply chain for magnetic metals by constructing an integrated rare earth processing facility in the country.

Pensana’s Longonjo Project in Angola now includes the production of a mixed rare earth metal carbonate.

It sees this as a unique opportunity to explore the potential of taking a further step in the supply chain by building a manufacturing facility to create additional value for rare earth metal oxides in the UK.

By combining a magnetic metal supply with a capacity for its production, Pensana says there is potential for the establishment of a sustainable supply chain.

This is particularly relevant as concerns grow about the origin of this product for the electric vehicle and offshore wind turbine industry critical metals.

Following its recent resource appreciation, the Longonjo Project now includes one of the largest known rare earth metals resources in the world.

Pensana says the Longonjo project, together with the UK processing facility, could produce enough rare earth metal oxides to power the wind turbines at Dogger Bank (pictured). 

Dogger Bank Wind Farm’s 13MW Haliades X turbines, each use over 7 tonnes of permanent magnets.

Pensana’s main focus is on this broader context and the Wood Group study will consider sustainable development in terms of processing route, preferred location, capital and operating costs, funding opportunities and government incentives for the UK project.

The study is expected to take around three months to complete.

Chairman Paul Atherley said: “We all want a ‘green’ economy and demand ‘build back better’; however, the growing demand for magnetic metals brings the origin and sustainability of these critical supply chains into focus.

“The UK and EU are global leaders in the offshore wind and EV industries – both rely on permanent magnets.

“The UK and EU recognize that the ‘green’ recovery requires critical raw materials and that a sustainable magnetic metals supply chain is required to support the ‘green’ economy.

“The Wood Group study will address the first and most important step in establishing a sustainable supply chain – from mine to magnet – namely building rare earth processing capabilities in the UK.”

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