‘Consistent and widespread’: Ionic uncovers more shallow, high-grade rare earths at Makuutu project
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Special Report: New drilling results from Ionic’s Makuutu Rare Earths Project continue to demonstrate the large, high-grade, and continuous nature of this tier 1 resource.
Ionic Rare Earths (ASX: IXR) is developing Makuutu, 120km east of Kampala, Uganda, to be a globally significant producer of both heavy rare earths oxides (HREO) and critical rare earth oxides (CREO).
It is looking to provide a viable large-scale, low-cost alternative to China’s globally dominant rare earths sector.
In March, Ionic completed 11 diamond core drill holes at Makuutu before the program was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eight of these were ‘infill’ holes drilled to increase the confidence and classification of the resource and provide additional metallurgical test work samples.
Three others were drilled as exploration ‘step outs’ to potentially increase the size of the existing resource.
Shallow, high-grade infill intersections were returned over significant widths, including 10.8m at 1,533 parts per million (ppm) total rare earths oxides (TREO), 3.6m from surface.
Highlights from step out drilling include 8m at 1,077ppm TREO from 4.5m.
Ionic technical director Dr Marc Steffens says results from the three holes drilled outside of the current resource area highlight the potential to significantly expand the current resource.
These intercepts will be followed up once the drilling program resumes, he says.
“More substantively, these results continue to demonstrate the consistent and widespread nature of the rare earth mineralisation at Makuutu,” Dr Steffens says.
“These are fundamental requirements for a rare earth project with substantive scale and production capacity.
“In addition to this drilling, the company has redoubled its efforts into developing the metallurgy and processing aspects of the project and exploring strategic partnerships with several groups.
“We continue to make progress and will provide updates to the market on these initiatives in due course.”