• Construction is progressing at Ionic’s Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project demonstration plant
  • Land access agreements for the wider Makuutu project area progressing rapidly post Ugandan Government approval
  • Makuutu is one of the most advanced heavy rare earth projects globally


Progress is being made in the construction of Ionic’s Technical Facility housed within the Demonstration Plant at the Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project in Uganda. The Project is 60% owned by Ionic through local Ugandan operating entity, Rwenzori Rare Metals (RRM).

Ionic Rare Earths’ (ASX:IXR) Makuutu Project is one of the most advanced heavy rare earths projects globally available as a source for new supply chains emerging across Europe, the US, and Asia.

In March, the Company announced a positive Stage 1 Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for RL1693, the first of six tenements to progress to a Mining Licence Application (MLA) which is pending in Uganda.

The Makuutu Stage 1 DFS defined a 35-year life initial project producing a 71% rich magnet and heavy rare earth carbonate (MREC) product basket and the potential for significant potential and scale up through additional tenements.


‘Process plan to production and profitability’

IXR has been advancing construction works of its Demonstration Plant at Makuutu, a smaller version of the real thing.

The Demo Plant—which really isn’t that small at all – will allow the Company to validate its test work and provide a strong basis for grade control, mine design, material handling, and metallurgical reconciliation prior to full scale production.

So far, the Company says civils have been completed along with the installation of the Technical Facility steel frame structure, with concrete slabs also poured for the agglomerator and heap desorption crib areas.


Makuutu technical facility frame structure erected. Pic via Ionic Rare Earths


Boundary fence installation and the upgraded site access road have also progressed towards completion.

The Technical Facility schedule for completion has been revised and is now expected to be finalised in November with a target to begin heap desorption column test work by the end of 2023.

IXR MD Tim Harrison says progress at Makuutu over the past 6 weeks has been pleasing.

“Land access agreements are now rapidly being progressed across all 3 districts that hosts the Makuutu Stage 1 Mining Licence Application (MLA) area at Retention Licence (RL) 1693, under TN03834 pending award,” he says.

“The progress allows IonicRE and RRM to harness our processing innovations to accelerate and validate mine development with a clear process plan to production and profitability.”


Product shipped to partners in 2024

IXR’s Demonstration Plant is a key milestone for its supply chain engagement, with product to be produced here likely to go off to potential partners in early 2024.

“It is a globally strategic resource for near-term development and long-term security of magnet and heavy rare earth oxides (HREO) supply,” Harrison says.

“Along with our Ionic Technologies Belfast recycling facility, Makuutu is key to us harnessing our technology to accelerate mining, refining, and recycling of magnet and heavy rare earths that are critical for the energy transition, advanced manufacturing, and defence”.


What’s next?

The Technical Facility structure is anticipated to be completed by late November, complete with electrical and water installations which will mark the end of a nine-month process from initial land acquisition to final construction.

A delay in the dispatch of test work equipment from Perth will see equipment reach Uganda next month prior to installation.

IXR continues to build its Uganda team with several new appointments made, and key input received from newly appointed engineering contractor DRA Global.




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.