Special Report: Infill drilling has intersected continuous thick, near surface and high-grade clay rare earths at Ionic’s Makuutu project in Uganda ahead of a resource update.

Notable intersections form the first 11 holes include 10.1m at 1,057 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxides (TREO) from a depth of 6.6m, 9.9m at 1,188ppm TREO from 3.5m and 9.3m at 1,113 ppm TREO from 3.3m.

Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) says drilling of the Phase 2 resource expansion program is continuing at a rapid rate with 134 holes totalling 2,217m of the 3,700m program completed to date.

Assays for five extensional holes are pending release, while a second tranche of samples from 32 holes have arrived in Perth for assay.

Chief executive officer Tim Harrison says the infill results have validated the company’s expectations in regard to continuity of resource grade, allowing it to progress with plans to increase resource confidence through an optimised 200m space infill pattern.

“Drilling progress remains on target and we are pleased to have reached our milestones in completing the first program at Makuutu Eastern Zone, and only days away from expected completion at Makuutu Western Zone,” he says.

“With the second tranche of samples now in Australia, we will get a firm idea on the potential for resource extension at Makuutu Central.”

Harrison noted that drilling to date has encountered expected clay intervals and the company remains focused on building a resource that underpins a long-life alternative supply for critical and heavy rare earths applications.

Current drill program showing both completed (red & green) and planned (blue) drill holes Pic: Supplied


A unique rare earth resource

Makuutu currently has a resource of 78.6 million tonnes (Mt) grading 840 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxides (TREO) that is uniquely contained in ionic clays, a style of mineralisation that is rare outside of southern China.

Drilling at the Makuutu Western Zone (MWZ) is currently focused on increasing the size of the resource by drilling out the exploration target of between 270Mt to 530Mt grading 0.04 per cent to 0.1 per cent TREO.

This is being carried out in a 400m by 400m grid over an area of about 16sqkm, about three times the area covered by the existing resource.

Once drilling at the MWZ is completed, the remaining resource program will return to test the western areas of the Makuutu Central Zone before completing infill drilling at the existing resource area.

Drilling is expected to be completed by mid-October.


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.