Special Report: Ionic Rare Earths has received approval for three licence renewal and extension applications at its Makuutu rare earths project in Uganda – growing the project area even bigger.

The award of the licences at Ionic Rare Earths’ (ASX:IXR) 51%-owned project is expected to be finalised in the coming days.

They include:

  • The approved renewal of Retention License RL1693 – the central zone at Makuutu which is home to the project’s current mineral resource estimate;
  • The approval for granting of Exploration License TN03424 – a 60.3km2 landholding which is contiguous with the project’s highly prospective existing exploration licence EL1766, where a radiometric anomaly is a target for additional resource expansion at Makuutu, and;
  • The approval for granting of Exploration License TN03425 – a 48.15km2 area north of and contiguous with RL1693. The company said this licence would provide a strategic holding for rare earths exploration, as well as aggregate, stone and other materials which may be used in project development.

Ionic Rare Earths chief executive Tim Harrison said the latest approvals were an important milestone for the company as it develops Makuutu.

“The company is very pleased to have received news of the licence application approvals,” he said.

“This enables the company to continue its planned activity at Makuutu, including a potential material resource increase and revised scoping study to reflect the significant increase in the scale of the project.

“The award of the area north of the RL1693 is important to us as it provides the project additional scope for process plant locations adjacent to the low-cost 132kV hydro-power corridor running immediately north of the project tenements.”

Harrison said the award of TN03424 to the east of the current resource was a substantial addition to the project’s playbook. Work is well underway on the definition of an exploration target here, and a subsequent initial drill program is planned for Q2 next year.

Ionic Makuutu
The new and existing landholdings at Makuutu. Pic: Company supplied.

“The award of the new eastern exploration ground is tremendously exciting,” he said.

“Based upon the radiometric anomaly within TN03424 we will continue our plans for a drill program in 2021 to test and demonstrate the commercial opportunity we believe to be present at Makuutu.

“With recent drill assays on the boundary of the new application area being elevated in the proportion of heavy rare earth content, Makuutu continues to confirm itself to be a critical heavy rare-earth project of tremendous strategic importance.”

Now in the process of updating the mineral resource estimate for Makuutu, Ionic Rare Earths intends to update its scoping study to reflect the project’s potentially revised economics.

The updated scoping study may include multiple process modules and present options for accelerated production capacity further than the scenarios considered in the original study.

Makuutu currently has a mineral resource of 76.8 million tonnes grading 840 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO) for 66,000 contained tonnes of TREO.

This is expected to be materially updated in Q1 next year.




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.