Ionic drilling hints at extensions to Makuutu rare earths
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Ionic’s Phase 3 drill program at its Makuutu rare earths project is underway and the first five holes have already returned some positive hints.
The holes in the initial reconnaissance drill program have all intersected clay intervals with two of them intersecting sediments confirming the presence of the sedimentary basin that hosts the Makuutu rare earths mineralisation in this area.
Given that these are the first holes to test Exploration Licence 00147 with the resource boundary about 5km to the west, confirmation that mineralisation extends to the licence could underpin a further resource upgrade.
Ionic Rare Earths’ (ASX:IXR) Makuutu project already hosts one of the world’s largest ionic adsorption clay deposits with a 315Mt resource grading 650 parts per million total rare earth oxides.
Ionic adsorption clay deposits are commonly considered to be some of the cheapest and most readily accessible sources of heavy rare earths, as they can be desorbed from the clay using a simple salt desorption process.
“The initial drilling activity within the new exploration licence EL00147 has found sediments that appear similar to those that host the Makuutu rare earth mineralisation,” managing director Tim Harrison said.
“The drilling is initially focused on establishing the existence of the sediments and rare earth hosting clay on the eastern side of the massive radiometric anomaly that extends from the Makuutu deposit.
“The exploration targeting method to date has been very successful and continues to provide a great initial indicator for the regolith profile seen at Makuutu with all holes intersecting clay beneath a surface hardcap layer.”
The Phase 3 drill program consists of 67-hole reconnaissance rotary air blast totalling 1,200m that is aimed at testing for rare earth mineralisation outside of the previous focus of the project.
Some targets are potential alternate host types that have not been previously tested.
Four holes have been completed to date with a fifth currently underway though assays are still pending.
The program is expected to be completed in May.
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.