Rare earth refinery set for UK’s Teesside

Earlier this month, Peak Resources Ltd announce that “following an extensive global search and site evaluation process, the location of its proposed rare earth refinery has been selected at Tees Valley on the north east coast of the United Kingdom. Peak and its partners are developing the Ngualla Project in Tanzania into a low cost, next generation rare earth project strongly aligned to the high value, expanding magnet metal market.

The company has tailored its processing flowsheet to focus on the production of neodymium and praseodymium, which in 2015 accounted for 85% by value of the rare earths used in the permanent magnet market. To better position itself in this market a strategic decision has been made by the company to establish a rare earth refinery at a location with access to global shipping, cheap and reliable bulk reagent supplies (particularly hydrochloric acid and caustic soda), a skilled labour force, readily available power, water and environmentally sustainable options to dispose of tailings materials.

Wilton International Site in Tees Valley near the town of Middlesbrough is a large scale industrial park offering a “plug and play” option with existing access to reliable competitively priced power, utilities and services. Wilton also is the planned home of UK listed Sirius Minerals PLC’s $237 million materials handling and port facility for its North Yorkshire multi-nutrient polyhalite fertiliser project. Wilton is also located within 3 km of the Tees port, a deep water
port where the rare earth mineral concentrate will be shipped, and close to a number of facilities that are capable of managing the tailings from the process.
Peak’s Managing Director Mr. Darren Townsend said: “The choice of Tees Valley as the location for a rare earth refinery is compelling. Tees Valley will be the base case in the bankable feasibility study currently being completed, however, the company is also evaluating additional routes to market scenarios to provide the company with maximum flexibility and options relevant to today’s market environment. Whilst the long-term impact of Brexit is
not yet fully understood, the devaluation of the pound is expected to improve operating costs and the UK’s progressive stance on maintaining competitive corporate fiscal regimes post Brexit are both positives.”