Ionic has embarked on the fourth phase of infill drilling that will see three rigs working to convert existing inferred resources into higher confidence indicated resources.

Its Makuutu rare earths project currently has a resource of 315 million tonnes (Mt) grading 650 parts per million total rare earths oxide (TREO) including an inferred resource of 248Mt at 610ppm TREO.

Drilling is aimed at converting a significant portion of this inferred resource to the indicated level, which has sufficient information on geology and grade continuity to support mine planning.

This will allow the company to include the resources in future studies, including the bankable feasibility study.

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) expects the second rig to be mobilised later this week while the third rig is expected to be mobilised in late July to progress close spaced infill drilling.

This drill program will also include resource extension drilling to convert exploration targets to classified resources.

“We have ambitious plans for the next six months, and with a second rig due to arrive on site in coming days, we expect to complete a substantial amount of core drilling during this Phase 4 program,” managing director Tim Harrison said.

“The plan is to work towards converting the majority of the higher grade inferred resource base at RL 1693 to indicated resources over the second half of 2021.

“Additionally, we are working on the required drilling to define a measured resource base at RL 1693, and to help deliver this, a third drill rig is being coordinated to arrive at site in the second half of July.”

Infill drilling

The first rig has arrived on site at Makuutu and commenced infill drilling adjacent to the Makuutu Central Zone on RL 1693.

Ionic will prioritise infill drilling to areas immediately adjacent to the existing indicated resource area, Central Zone East (CEZ) Inferred, CEZ Unclassified Exploration Target, Central Main Zone Inferred, plus areas F, G and H.

These zones represent the highest identified TREO grade inferred and exploration target mineralisation at Makuutu.

Drilling will initially focus on a 200m grid to convert inferred resources to indicated status.

An additional allocation of drilling is planned to be committed by the end of June which will support further close space drilling with a desire to define an even higher confidence measured resource.

Separately, assays from the 1,200m rotary air blast Phase 3 drill program are currently pending.

This program had tested radiometric target anomalies at all five tenements that make up the Makuutu project.



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.