Ionic Rare Earths drilling points to Makuutu resource upgrade
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Special Report: Ionic’s goal of upgrading the resource at its Makuutu rare earths project in Uganda has received a shot in the arm with the successful start of extension drilling.
All five of the extensional holes drilled to date have intersected mineralisation above the cut-off grade of 300 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO) less cerium, confirming the extension of mineralisation.
Extension drilling is aimed at increasing the size of the resource at Ionic Rare Earths’ (ASX:IXR) Makuutu project by drilling out the exploration target of between 270Mt to 530Mt grading 0.04 per cent to 0.1 per cent TREO.
Notable results from the five holes, which were all located several hundred metres beyond the current resource boundary, are 12.6m grading 779ppm TREO from 2.6m, 10m at 747ppm TREO from 4m, and 5.3m at 971ppm TREO from 3.9m.
These results are expected to provide additional resource tonnes to the next update of mineral resources that currently stands at 78.6 million tonnes (Mt) grading 840ppm TREO.
“The extension drilling results demonstrate that the mineralisation, extends as expected in line with the resource target and remains well defined by the radiometric signatures,” chief executive officer Tim Harrison said.
“We continue to see near surface thick clay intervals which, with further drilling, we’d expect to be included in the next resource update.”
Extension drilling is continuing with 143 drill holes totalling 2,344m of the planned 3,700m program completed to date.
The tranche of samples from 32 holes at Makuutu Central is currently being analysed in Perth with results expected in four weeks. Samples from a further 45 holes from Makuutu Eastern have just arrived in Perth.
Ionic currently owns 31 per cent of Rwenzori Rare Metals, the 100 per cent owner of the Makuutu project, and is nearing the 51 per cent its investment contribution milestone.
Makuutu’s rare earth mineralisation is uniquely contained in ionic clays, a style of mineralisation that is rare outside of southern China.
Metallurgical testing has already proven that heavy rare earth elements are readily recoverable using simple, low-cost mild desorption/leaching conditions.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.