The project to extract rare-earth minerals in Angola is still underway, despite the current state of emergency, in order to ensure that the country will become a supplier in a market dominated by China and Australia.
Pensana Rare Earths, the Australian company promoting the first rare-earth mineral project in Longonjo, said that the president of Angola had approved an investment contract, valid for 35 years, for exploration in that area of Huambo province.
According to information from Pensana, cited by the CLBrief.com website, the licence “was granted with attractive tax terms,” i.e. 2% “royalties,” national tax of 20% and 5% municipal tax on the revenue, following a tax exemption in the first two years.
In addition, the government gave the project an exemption on import duties for imported equipment, total reimbursement subsidy for five years and exemption from tax on dividends for three years.
The Minister of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, Diamantino Azevedo, said that the presidential approval of the Longonjo Mining Investment Contract, “reflects the strong support of the government for foreign investment to help diversify the economy and bring direct economic and social benefits to the communities in which we operate.”
“Pensana’s investment will be one of the biggest in recent years on a regional level in Angola and will create jobs, provide training, support local businesses, in addition to improving the social infrastructure in the Huambo region. We hope to work in close collaboration with Pensana to advance the project in the coming months,” said Azevedo.
According to the Chief Executive of Pensana, Tim George, a mining license, “is an important milestone in the rapid development of the Longonjo,” project and the support of the Ministry in fast tracking the contract is proof that Angola is “open for business” – even during the COVID-19 blockade.”
The company said that operations in Angola were not affected by the current state of emergency in the country and will move forward to the definitive feasibility studies, which “should confirm the status of Longonjo as one of the only rare-earth mineral mines in the developing world, at a time when demand for magnetic metals from manufacturers of electric vehicles and wind turbines is expected to increase.”
The studies on the downstream production of iron ore, “will open up markets in Europe, Japan and South Korea, as well as in China, and will form part of the Definitive Feasibility Study, which will be published in the quarter ending in September,” said the company, which is soon due to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.
The company also reported it had received more expressions of interest from Chinese companies to become potential partners in the development of the Longonjo project.
The Angolan Sovereign Fund recently became a shareholder of Pensana Rare Earths, having paid US$2.0 million to acquire a share of 4.8%.