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Long lead item orders placed, site preparation works well under way at Longonjo

Pensana’s Longonjo project in Angola

Pensana’s Longonjo project in Angola

4th March 2024

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

     

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Preparatory works are forging ahead smoothly at rare earths mining company Pensana’s Longonjo project in Angola, with main construction expected to start in May and cold commissioning to follow in August 2025.

Longonjo is one of the world's largest undeveloped rare earth mines, being one of only three with a Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant reserve greater than 100 000 t of neodymium and praseodymium.

On March 4, Pensana said an order had been placed with South African supplier of new and refurbished comminution equipment NCP International for the $2.3-million ball mill for delivery from Johannesburg to meet the construction and commissioning timelines for the concentrator plant. 

The company added that the detailed design and procurement documentation for other main long lead time or critical path items, such as the thickeners and flotation columns in the concentrator section, along with key equipment in the recovery/mixed rare earth carbonate section, such as the sulphuric acid plant, have been completed and orders will be placed with the selected vendors shortly.

Contractor Grupo Nov has completed the civils and services connections for the initial section of the 316-person modular construction camp. The $1.3-million camp has been fabricated off site and is ready for shipment from Johannesburg to site during the course of this month. 

All the site access roads have been completed within the licence area. Pensana added that a 5 000 ℓ potable water tank is ready for installation to support the construction camp and the future plant facilities. 

The company said that high priority is being given to community relations and, in particular, to the resettlement action and livelihoods restoration plans which are progressing according to plan. 

Moreover, Pensana said the agricultural demonstration plots are in their second year and are generating promising baseline data, providing the opportunity to train local farmers in the latest agricultural methods.

The mine and processing plant will be constructed as from May and commissioning of the various circuits will commence in March next year, continuing until final commissioning in April 2026. 

“The growing onsite team, supported by . . . Grupo Nov, is fully operational and is well-advanced with the earth works and other preparatory works ahead of the commencement of the main civils and earthworks campaigns in the weeks ahead. 

“[Health and safety, environmental performance, and training] will continue to be a priority as we build out the workforce, which will increase to over 650 people on site at peak construction later this year,” CEO Tim George said.

Upon final commissioning, the total expenditure is expected to reach $196.4-million.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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