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Home » Pensana Rare Earths facility at Saltend approved

Pensana Rare Earths facility at Saltend approved

You can view the planning committee discussion on this at the ERYC YouTube channel.

A PLANNING APPLICATION to build the UK’s first rare earth materials processing facility on vacant land adjacent to the Saltend Chemicals Park (East of Paull Road) has been approved by the planning committee of East Riding of Yorkshire Council (26 May 2022). 

When constructed, the facility is expected to produce 4,500 tonnes of Rare Earth Oxides which will be refined by Pensana PLC and used in the creation of powerful magnets for wind turbines and electric vehicles.

Local Preston Parish Councillor Tony Hodge, and ERYC Ward Member for South West Holderness Councillor John Dennis, both spoke at the committee to object to the development raising concerns about safety regulations (Control Of Major Accident Hazards) and potential wider negative impacts on local communities. However, the new development is seen by some sources in Government as being of national significance as the UK races to compete in a rare earths market that is currently dominated by China. Rare earth magnets are essential to the development of greener, more sustainable strategic industries it is argued.

The new facility is expected to create construction jobs and 125 permanent skilled jobs and contribute towards creating a “centre of expertise” in this kind of chemical engineering.

(Note: Although in effect the plan has been approved, in actual fact the application has been formally deferred until certain conditions are met and then will be delegated to officers for eventual approval).

The discussion on this at the planning committee is on the ERYC’s YouTube channel at 1hr 56mins in, at: https://youtu.be/3SU-tHz0HwE

+ Pensana have released the following statement on their website:

Pensana is pleased to announce that its planning application for a larger rare earth refinery site at
Saltend Chemicals Park near Hull, has been approved by East Riding Council.

The Company’s £150m Saltend project will have significant local and national benefits: it will create
450 jobs during construction and 125 high-value full-time jobs thereafter, while playing an important part in reducing the UK’s reliance on critical mineral imports from China.

The Company’s Chief Commercial Officer, William Izod, told East Riding councillors that 90% of the
world’s magnets are currently produced in China, and their near-monopoly could result in them
dictating prices and limiting exports.

Electric cars need roughly one kilogram of magnet, whilst a 260-metre wind turbine can use seven
tonnes.

The planning approval was also reported by the Yorkshire Post, with Counsellor John Whittle quoted
on the project, stating that “If this is going to enhance the robustness of our country it must be
supported.”

In addition, The Sunday Times recently reported that £4m of taxpayers’ money from the Automotive
Transformation Fund would be granted to the project by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng. This
should help unlock the private investment needed to fund the plant, which could create 125 jobs.

A BEIS spokesperson told the Yorkshire Post: “We are investing heavily to ensure the UK remains one
of the best locations in the world for automotive manufacturing. Through our £850m Automotive
Transformation Fund, we are dedicated to securing a globally competitive automotive sector in
Yorkshire and across the UK. Developing secure supply chains in critical minerals and battery
components is central to this.”

Paul Atherley, Chairman, added: “We are delighted that the strategic importance of Pensana’s Saltend facility has been recognised by East Riding Council and that the planning application for a larger site has been approved. This will bring high-value jobs to the local area and allow us to expand further into downstream production, as part of our plans to create a world-class, independent, and sustainable supply of rare earth metals for electric vehicles, offshore wind and other strategic industries.”


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