Ionic’s Makuutu rare earths resource is bigger than ever
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Ionic’s Phase 4 drill program and its 100% success rate has paid rich dividends with the company pencilling in a 70% increase in resource at Makuutu rare earths project.
The overall resource at the ionic adsorption clay project in Uganda now stands at a massive 532 million tonnes grading 640 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxides at a 200ppm TREO minus cerium oxide cut-off.
Adding even more value, the higher confidence Indicated Resource now makes up about 76% of the total resource after it was increased by 512% to 404Mt at 670ppm TREO.
Given that Indicated Resources can be used for mine planning due to the greater information on geology and grade continuity, this provides significant backing for Ionic Rare Earths’ (ASX:IXR) 2021 Scoping Study as it represents a material increase over its production target.
It also cements the project’s position as a key non-Chinese IAC deposit – considered to be amongst the cheapest and most readily accessible sources of heavy rare earths – with access to the US and European markets.
“This resource update at Makuutu has significantly exceeded my expectations. In essence, the mineralised system appears to be significantly larger than we had contemplated,” managing director Tim Harrison said.
“The potential of Makuutu is now clearly defined in a global context. This resource update will support the feasibility study currently underway, which will now look at incorporating both a faster ramp up and greater annual production capacity driven by a material step change in Indicated resources.
“The feasibility study to be completed later this year will be used to support a mining licence application expected to be submitted before the end of October 2022. Makuutu is clearly a unique asset, near development ready, with product to be available for markets developing in the US and Europe.”
Not only does the resource update rank Makuutu as one of the world’s largest IAC deposits, it also confirms that highly valuable heavy and critical rare earths collectively make up a substantial 42% of the resource.
Additionally, the resource only includes clay and saprolite regolith types with surface hardcap material excluded while processing alternatives are tested for this material.
This updated resource is now being used by Ionic to complete mine planning activities that will feed into the Makuutu feasibility study and submitted to the Ugandan Government as part of its mining licence application by the end of October 2022.
The company is also revising the Exploration Target to incorporate new data including the successful Phase 3 scout drilling program while a new exploration program is being prepared to test the potential extension of REE-bearing clays across the larger 298sqkm tenement area that hosts a 37km long IAC mineralisation system.
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.