Rare earth specialist Pensana Plc has entered into a 25-year lease at Saltend Chemicals Park.
The agreement with PX Group and ABP for a nine hectare site comes as it gears up to introduce the magnet metal supply chain to the UK.
A £100 million complex engineering facility is being brought forward on the Humber freeport site, with the materials processed vital to support the high growth markets of electric vehicles and offshore wind turbines.
The major commitment for the high-tech separation plant was confirmed following a board meeting on the park, where hundreds of jobs are anticipated.
Planned-in scope for expansion has been stressed, with it also confirmed that front end engineering design is on track to complete in October, with contracts for the consented build anticipated soon after.
Positive reception of a bid for a share of the £1 billion Automotive Transformation Fund was also highlighted, while ABG Sundal Collier, a leading Nordic investment bank headquartered in Oslo, Norway, has been appointed ahead of a proposed £182 million bond issue.
Quarter four is being targeted, with detailed due diligence review to start imminently.
Chairman Paul Atherley said “We continue to work closely with the UK Government’s Automotive Transformation Fund on support for the world-class Saltend rare earth processing hub which will create over 500 jobs during construction and over 100 high value permanent jobs once in operation.
“Saltend will be the first major rare earth separation facility to be developed in over a decade and will be the first to be located in a freeport. The facility will process feedstock from the company’s Longonjo project and from other sources around the world, producing the magnet metal oxides critical for the electric vehicle and offshore wind turbine supply chains.”
Geotechnical drilling and trenching works have begun at the site, to aid design.
Wood, the international engineering group, is working with PX Group to optimise jetty-to-site reagent and material handling arrangements, along with the provision of ‘plug and play’ power, water, steam and fuel supplies.
Discussions are also ongoing with freeport stakeholders to finalise government submissions to clarify the benefits and incentives applicable to the freeport enterprise zone tax and customs zone at Saltend Chemicals Park.
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