Ionic’s Makuutu rare earths demonstration plant is progressing at pace
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Ionic is advancing the Demonstration Plant at its Makuutu magnet heavy rare earths project in Uganda, with earthworks and construction currently being carried out by a local company.
The Demonstration Plant will allow the Company to validate its test work and provide the strong basis for grade control, mine design, material handling, metallurgical reconciliation, and construction whilst maximising Stage One DFS results, which had outlined the attractiveness of the ionic adsorption clay-hosted project.
Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) is also advancing the Phase 5 drill program with all 76 rotary air blast holes completed across EL00147, EL00247 and RL00007 while core infill diamond drilling is progressing with 29 holes drilled for 558m out of the planned 4,380m program.
Core infill diamond drilling is intended to support the upgrade the classification of the Resource in RL00007 from the Inferred category to the higher confidence Indicated category.
Makuutu currently has a resource of 532Mt grading 640 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxide (TREO), only a small part of which is located within RL00007.
Upgrading resources in RL00007 will support the updated DFS and the next Mining Licence application to be completed on RL00007 in November 2024.
This follows the Company’s recycling Demonstration Plant in Belfast, UK, successfully producing high quality neodymium oxide and dysprosium oxide from waste permanent magnets in June.
“The commercialisation of our recycling technology at our Belfast facility and our focus on the delivery of the Makuutu magnet and heavy rare earths project in Uganda positions us to provide a secure, sustainable, and traceable supply of magnet REOs,” managing director Tim Harrison said.
“We are harnessing our technology to accelerate our mining, refining and recycling of magnets and heavy rare earths that are critical for the energy transition, advanced manufacturing, and defence.”
Earthworks at the Demonstration Plant have been completed whilst erection of the technical facility has started after the facility shed was fabricated and delivered to site.
Foundation formwork is currently being set out, with concrete footings commencing this weekend and superstructure erection within the next four weeks.
Harrison noted that the progress allows the company to harness its processing innovations to accelerate and validate mine development with a clear process plan to production and profitability.
“This step will also strengthen talks we have progressed with supply chain partners where further value adding has been identified. It is a globally strategic resource for near-term development and long-term security of magnet and heavy rare earth oxide (HREO) supply,” he added.
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.