Ionic has now received all assays from its Tranche 4 drilling at the Makuutu project with all holes in the sixth and final tranche intersecting the rare earths clay which is Ionic’s speciality.   

While all 66 holes in this final tranche has mineralisation above the resource cut-off grade, there were a number of standouts including 5.7m grading 1,102 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxides (TREO) just 2.3m from surface, 17m at 637ppm TREO from 4.4m and 14.7m at 600ppm TREO from 5.7m.

Equally important, the 100% success rate of the 432-hole Phase 4 drilling will now feed into the resource update expected in the second quarter of 2022.

Ionic Rare Earth’s (ASX:IXR) Makuutu project is a large scale, ionic adsorption clay (IAC) hosted rare earth element (REE) play with a current resource of 315Mt at 650ppm TREO at a resource cut-off grade of 200ppm TREO less cerium oxide (CeO2).

Besides its size, REE’s hosted in ionic adsorption clay are considered to be amongst the cheapest and most readily accessible sources of valuable heavy rare earths.

“These latest tranche 6 drill assays complete what has been an extraordinary drill program where all 432 drill holes completed have returned REE bearing clays above the cut-off grade which is a clear reflection of the significant scale and continuity of the mineralised system at Makuutu,” managing director Tim Harrison noted.

“With this batch, the Phase 4 drilling assay data have all been delivered, and the update MRE estimation has commenced.

“The Makuutu resource remains on course for a significant upgrade in confidence in the near term, with the MRE update advancing Makuutu another step closer to our goal of submitting a mining licence application later in 2022.”

Assay results

The Makuutu Phase 4 drill program was designed to increase resource confidence in the Central Zone plus areas F, G, H and I.

It also infill-drilled exploration targets C, E and the area between the Central Zone and Central Zone East to support resource estimation of these zones.

Ionic noted that all holes in the final tranche were infill holes drilled within the Inferred Resource at Area I.

While Area I is generally a lower grade area of the resource, it shows consistent clay thickness and grade distribution, with elevated in situ proportions of heavy rare earth elements.

Encouragingly, the infill drilling returned typical profile grade and thickness characteristics.




This article was developed in collaboration with Ionic Rare Earths, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.