Ionic’s Makuutu rare earths drilling shifts into high gear
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Ionic is accelerating the Phase 4 infill drill program at its Makuutu rare earths project in Uganda with the mobilisation of a third drill rig.
Phase 4 is the largest drill program that the company is carrying out at the project to date with about 5,700m of drilling planned to convert the inferred resources at the RL 1693 licence to the higher confidence indicated and measured categories.
The indicated and measured resources will then be used to underpin the feasibility study for the project, which is one of the largest ionic adsorption clay-hosted rare earth element deposits outside of China.
Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) noted that Phase 4 infill drilling had initially started near the Makuutu Central Zone on RL 1693 with a focus on areas adjacent to the existing indicated resource.
Other target areas include the Central Zone East (CEZ) Inferred, CEZ Unclassified Exploration Target, Central Main Zone Inferred, plus areas F, G and H that represent the highest identified total rare earth oxide (TREO) grades at Makuutu.
Additional zones immediately adjacent to existing inferred resources have also been identified on the back of extremely encouraging results from its Phase 3 rotary air blast program.
“The progress at Makuutu continues to move along at a very rapid pace. The Phase 4 infill drilling program is ahead of plan and with the third rig now on site we expect to get through the program ahead of schedule,” managing director Tim Harrison said.
“The very positive recently reported Phase 3 RAB drill results have provided strong encouragement to extend drilling in areas immediately adjacent to the Makuutu central area indicated resource area and we have moved swiftly to add that to the program.
“We have no shortage of future targets with substantial extensional upside at Makuutu, however we remain ensuring we define an adequate indicated resource base to support the feasibility study.”
Over 155 holes totalling over 2,370 metres have been drilled to date.
Ionic noted that excellent progress has been made on progressing the feasibility study work program for the project with key consultants appointed to accelerate technical and commercial assessment of all key elements of Makuutu.
The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment is well underway with key stakeholder meetings held with government, NGOs and local community representatives, while substantial progress has been made on baseline studies.
Rigs have been mobilised to site to complete metallurgical sampling required to support key process development and verification testwork.
Additionally, conditional simulation studies have been completed to provide confidence on potential requirements for close space infill drilling to support measured resource requirements at the project.
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.