File image: Reuters

JOHANNESBURG - Australian mining company Pensana Metals on Tuesday announced the appointment of experienced Anglo American executive and minerals engineer, Tim George, as its new chief executive as the rare earths miner looks set to list at the London Stock Exchange later in the year.

Pesana has a globally significant neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) deposit at the Longonjo NdPr Project in Angola, close to major transport links and infrastructure which is the key to project development.

The company looks to capitalize in clean energy future as the world moves towards zero emissions NdPr electric motors.

There is a major NdPr supply shortfall predicted by 2021 while China controls well over 96 percent of the world's NdPr production.

George, who is based in Cape Town, has over 30 years of experience in the mining and engineering sectors, with a broad experience in mining project development throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. 

He has previous experience working in Angola as chairman and chief executive of Xceldiam an AIM-listed diamond exploration company based in Angola which was bought out by Petra Diamonds in 2007.

George said rare earths was one of the most exciting sectors to be involved in right now and that he was excited about his new role in Pensana.

He said he has easy access to Angola and was looking forward to spending time on the ground with chief operations officer Dave Hammond and the team working with the local community in understanding its needs, furthering the warm relationships with the government representatives and moving the project through development and into production.

"There is no doubt that NdPr is at the centre of the green energy revolution and the Longonjo project is rapidly emerging as one of the front runners in the race to become the second non-Chinese significant miner of this critical metal," George said.

"I have previously worked in Angola and on my recent site visit was astonished by the transformation of the country’s infrastructure with the U.S.$20 billion of Chinese investment over the past decade.

"In my view, the U.S.$1.8 billion Benguela rail line which runs right past the project and links to the recently upgraded Port of Lobito – are some of the best transport infrastructure assets anywhere in Africa. For the first time copper concentrates are being railed from the Copper belt through Angola for export via Lobito."

George also said it was very important for the project at this stage in its development to build strong relationships with the new government - which is actively looking to diversify the economy away from a dependence on oil and gas and diamonds towards mining, agriculture and tourism.

- African News Agency (ANA)