Ionic Rare Earths is on the cusp of joining a very exclusive producers’ club
Special Report: Ionic Rare Earths will join the very exclusive MREC producers’ club early next year as the construction of the technical facility nears completion at the Makuutu Demonstration Plant in Uganda.
In what will be a major milestone for both the Company and Project, Ionic Rare Earths (ASX: IXR) expects to produce first mixed rare earth carbonate MREC from the Makuutu Demonstration Plant early in Q1 2024.
The technical facility at the Makuutu Demonstration Plant will allow magnet and heavy rare earth product to be sent to potential customers and offtakers for testing. Several third parties have expressed interest in partnering with IXR once Makuutu becomes an operational mine.
IXR also expects to be awarded a mining licence for Makuutu imminently.
Makuutu – 60% owned by IXR through its Ugandan operating entity Rwenzori Rare Metals (RRM) – is one of the most advanced, ionic adsorption clay hosted heavy rare earths projects globally.
The Stage 1 DFS supports production of Makuutu’s high value 71% rich MREC product basket over an initial 35-year project life. The Demonstration Plant is located within the first of IXRs six tenements in Uganda.
IXR will also use the Demonstration Plant to further optimise metallurgical test work and provide technical validation for the detailed review of the Stage 1 DFS being undertaken by DRA Global.
Process commissioning will begin once construction of the technical facility at the Makuutu Demonstration Plant is completed. Some equipment is still in transit from Australia with the first of two deliveries expected to arrive this month.
IXR is confident the technical facility and laboratories will be fitted out before the end of this calendar year.
Grade control drilling on one of two identified test pit locations is progressing well and also likely to be finalised this month.
Following a recent site visit, IXR Managing Director Tim Harrison has no doubt the Demonstration Plant will be producing MREC early next year.
“This technical facility at the Makuutu Demonstration Plant is a key milestone for the supply chain engagement with product to be produced here likely to be sent to potential offtakers in early 2024,” he said.
“Makuutu is a globally strategic resource for near-term development and long-term security of magnet and heavy rare earth oxide supply.
“Our focus on the delivery of the Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project in Uganda positions us to provide a secure, sustainable and traceable supply of magnet rare earth oxides.
“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.”
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.