Govt approvals mean it’s ‘pedal to the metal’ for Ionic’s Makuutu rare earths project in Uganda
Ionic Rare Earths now has a clear line to securing the mining lease for its Makuutu project in Uganda after securing a fundamental approval.
The company has good reasons to be celebrating following the National Environmental Management Authority’s (NEMA) approval of its Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA).
Not only does the approval pave the way for the Mining Lease approval process, which is expected in the first quarter of 2023, it is also a strong vote of confidence that the rare earths project will be Uganda’s next mining development which will unlock unprecedented social and economic benefits.
The approval follows a nine month assessment which culminated in two large hearings with over 3,800 registered attendees demonstrating strong governmental and local stakeholder support.
Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) noted that social benefits continue to accelerate across local communities in the Bugweri, Mayuge and Bugiri districts and includes employment, support programs and improved social services in one of the poorest parts of Uganda.
“I wish to start by thanking all Ugandan Government Ministers and officials for their support of the Makuutu Project and NEMA for their engagement, review, and approval of the ESIA,” managing director Tim Harrison said.
“This is a significant milestone and vote of confidence by the Government and community groups – signifying the pivotal role Makuutu will play in the social, economic development and growth of Uganda.”
The Mining Lease Application (MLA) will focus on the Makuutu Central Zone (MCZ), located within RL 1693, and will provide the basis for initial mining at Makuutu.
This area contains an Indicated Resource of 259 million tonnes at 740 ppm total rare earth oxides less cerium (TREO-CeO2).
Advice received indicates that 44km2 will allow the company to accelerate development compared to a MLA over the entire 300km2 Makuutu project area where mining in some areas would not take place until well over 20 years in the future.
On award of the MLA, the company will – through Rwenzori Rare Metals, which owns 100% of the project – work with Ugandan authorities on a Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) which will establish the fiscal terms for the mine development in the country.
Ionic has a 51% interest in RRM and is moving to 60% ownership on the completion of a Feasibility Study supporting the MLA.
Additionally, as part of its Resettlement Action Plan, Ionic has identified all Project Affected Persons (PAPs) and mapped the majority of their land parcels as part of a bid to ensure that they are not financially or socially disadvantaged.
It will now undertake a due diligence process of confirming the areas mapped as well as entering into Memorandums of Understanding (MOU’s) with PAPs to support land access.
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.