Magnet materials factory gets government backing

A planned factory at Saltend, near Hull, for processing rare earth materials has secured financial aid from the Automotive Transformation Fund, an £850 million fund that was set up to help electrify the country’s automotive supply chain.

The factory’s owner, Pensana, said it will likely come online next year and create 126 jobs. The move is significant because the materials will be used to make the magnets for wind turbines and electric vehicles, which are seen as key growth areas for UK manufacturing in future. The announcement coincided with the first Critical Minerals Strategy (CMS) being published by the UK Government.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business and Energy Secretary, said the country needed to quickly ensure that future industries would have access to the rare earth materials they need. The new factory will be the second largest outside China and will provide a supply of rare earth materials that will not be sensitive to geopolitical shocks.

Paul Atherley, Pensana’s Chairman, welcomed the financial support from the government, adding:

“Our Saltend rare earth processing hub will be the world’s first independent and sustainable rare earth separation plant, with plans to produce 5% of the global magnet metals in 2024. This will play a vital role in transforming the UK’s EV and offshore wind industries…”

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