Ionic has locked in the pathway for further capacity and organic growth at its Makuutu ionic adsorption clay rare earths project after the Ugandan government renewed a key retention licence.

The renewal of RL 00007 Inferred Resource of 39 million tonne at 470 ppm TREO, covers 43.38 km2 within the Makuutu Western Zone  — for another two years was granted within two weeks of its lodgement, highlighting the Government’s strong support for both the project and the company.

It follows on last October’s approval of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for Makuutu, which paves the way for the Mining Licence Application (MLA).

RL 00007 is also immediately south of the prospective exploration target located at EL00257, where applications have been submitted for drilling to commence this year to further define the scale of potential ionic clay mineralisation to the west of the MLA area.

Once these new exploration approvals are granted, Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) plans to start the Phase 5 drill program at Makuutu to move the resource into the higher confidence Indicated category, which will enable mine planning.

“The rapid approval of the renewal of RL 00007, which occurred within 2 weeks of finalising the submission documentation, is another positive reflection of the strong support Ionic RE and the project has within Uganda,” managing director Tim Harrison said.

“As the company, via RRM, finalises the MLA at Makuutu for RL 1693, we remain confident that Makuutu will continue to grow and support a much larger project.”

Ionic currently owns a 51% interest in RRM (Rwenzori Rare Metals), which owns 100% of the Makuutu project, and is moving towards 60% ownership with a first right over the remaining 40%.

Makuutu development proceeding apace

Makuutu currently hosts a resource of 532Mt at 640ppm TREO hosted within ionic clays, which are rare outside of southern China and are famed for having a higher concentration of valuable magnet rare earths while being easier to explore, drill and mine.

More uniquely, the Makuutu basket is free of environmentally challenging radionuclides (including Uranium and Thorium).

Besides the expected receipt of the MLA early this year, Ionic also plans to carry out additional drilling in the first half of 2023 to further evaluate exploration targets and to increase resource estimate confidence.




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.