Special Report: Drilling to validate the exploration target at Ionic Rare Earths’ Makuutu project in Uganda continues to extend near-surface rare earth clay mineralisation.

Top resource extension results from the latest assay results from the recently completed Phase 2 drilling program are 7.7m at 873 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxide (TREO) from a depth of 8.3m, 7.2m at 728ppm TREO from 6.1m and 13.4m at 722ppm TREO from 6.1m at the Makuutu Western Zone (MWZ).

The success is exciting as Ionic Rare Earths’ (ASX:IXR) Phase 2 drill program tested an area that is more than three times larger than that covered by its current resource.

Infill drilling within the existing resource area has also confirmed the continuity and grade of mineralisation with numerous high-grade zones intersected.

Notable results are 15.8m at 1,375ppm TREO from 5.9m, 16.6m at 1,379ppm TREO from 6.8m, 10.1m at 1,754ppm TREO from 4.7m and 5m at 2,965ppm TREO from 11.9m.

Managing director Tim Harrison says the exploration results extend and identify additional near surface rare earths mineralisation immediately west of the existing resource.

“The grade and thickness reported is as expected and consistent with other areas of the Makuutu project area,” he added.

“It confirms a very high success rate on the identification of clay REE mineralisation based upon the exploration targeting method used including the radiometrics trend.”

Further infill drilling results are expected by the end of January with planning for the resource upgrade expected shortly after.

ionic rare earths makuutu drilling plan
Drill program status plan showing completed and planned drill holes covering the Makuutu project. Pic: Supplied


Giant rare earth clay potential

Makuutu has a current resource of 76.8 million tonnes grading 840ppm TREO for 66,000 contained tonnes of TREO along with a recently expanded exploration target of 240–800 million tonnes grading 0.045-0.09 per cent (450-900 ppm) TREO.

But it’s the project’s unique ionic adsorption mineralisation hosted in near-surface clay that differentiates it from other rare earths projects.

It is one of very few such projects outside of southern China’s rare earths deposits, which are widely regarded as some of the cheapest and most readily accessible sources of heavy rare earths extracted through relatively simple mining and processing methods.


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.