Pensana Rare Earths Plc (ASX: PM8) has successfully produced an NdPr rich mixed rare earth carbonate (MREC) from the testwork currently underway on mineralisation from its Longonjo rare earth project in Angola.
Industry experts Wood Group and Nagrom, based on testwork performed at metallurgical laboratories in Perth, have successfully developed a flowsheet to produce a particularly high grade MREC with NdPr comprising 33.5% of the total rare earths content.
Pensana CEO, Tim George, said MREC is a much higher purity and higher value product and has a much broader market and range of applications than the concentrate product contemplated in Pensana’s Preliminary Feasibility Study.
He said that based on information provided by industry specialists the specifications of Longonjo’s MREC compares favourably with the main products currently being produced and sold mainly in China.
The pilot plant and metallurgical test work are ongoing with a view to finalising the preferred process route and to providing data for engineering and production cost estimations for the Bankable Feasibility Study.
Mr George said a comprehensive update on the Bankable Feasibility Study will be reported towards the end of the month. Two of the circuits will be required to run for longer to bring the testwork results up to the required reporting standards for the study which will enable the finalisation of the report in due course.
A key feature that the study will report is the potential for the project to be brought online as the first major rare earth mine in over a decade which can also offer a sustainable supply of mixed rare earth carbonate at a time when there is growing concern around the provenance of the rare earth supply chain.
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. The market for this carbonate is substantially larger than that of a concentrate and is potentially not limited to China,” Mr George said.
“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.
“Importantly the combination of this value‐adding step with the excellent infrastructure, not least the available hydro‐electric power supply, will enable us to develop Longonjo as one of the world’s most sustainable rare earth suppliers on the critical magnet metal supply chain.
“The recent resource upgrade has elevated the project to one of the world’s largest rare earth resources and with the ongoing financial backing of the Angola Sovereign Wealth Fund we are in a very strong position to rapidly develop the project.”