• Ionic Rare Earths awarded Uganda’s first-ever Large Scale Mining Licence for Makuutu
  • The licence helps the company to progress offtake discussions and positions it for FID later this year
  • Demonstration Plant remains on track to start operations this quarter


Special Report: Ionic Rare Earths has reached a major milestone in its drive to develop the Makuutu heavy rare earths Project in Uganda with the award of the country’s first-ever Large Scale Mining Licence.

Makuutu is the most advanced Ionic Adsorption Clay-hosted (IAC) Project currently in development with product not committed to China. The operation has a resource of 532Mt grading 640 parts per million (ppm) Total Rare Earth Oxides (TREO) that is due for an update.

Ionic Rare Earths’ (ASX:IXR) Stage 1 definitive feasibility study has already outlined a 35-year life initial project producing a 71% rich magnet and heavy rare earth carbonate (MREC) product basket.

Work is also under way to ready a Demonstration Plant for operations in the current quarter to potential customers and offtakers who have shown interest in partnering with the Company to secure magnet and heavy rare earth product.


First-ever Large Scale Mining Licence

Following on the heels of a provisional mining licence for its Stage 1 operations, Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Dr Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu has signed and issued the large-scale Mining Licence for the Makuutu Project.

This represents the first such licence in Uganda under the Mining Act of 2022 and reflects the country’s strong support for the Project’s development towards operations.

It also sets the stage for further supply chain and offtake engagement, while positioning IXR for a final investment decision later this year, with first production expected in 2026.


Ionic Rare Earths asx IXR
Makuutu project Stage 1 mining licence. Pic: IXR


Separately, the Ugandan Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines has approved the renewal of highly prospective exploration licence 00147, which covers the majority of the company’s existing exploration target of 216-535Mt with a grade range of 400ppm to 600ppm TREO.


‘A tremendous achievement’

IXR Managing Director Tim Harrison said the formal award of the licence is a “tremendous achievement” by all stakeholders and enables discussions with potential strategic and supply chain partners to progress with the goal of bringing a new supply of magnet and heavy rare earths to market.

“Progress continues to be made at Makuutu’s Demonstration Plant, which will also be critical in de-risking the commercialisation of the Project through the production of value added, mixed rare earth carbonate (MREC) for our partners to qualify and validate,” Harrison said.

“It is an important step forward for Ionic Rare Earths in mining, refining, and recycling the heavy rare earths critical for the energy transition, advanced manufacturing, and defence.

“With the formal award of the mining licence in Uganda, it now reinforces the Makuutu Heavy Rare Earth Project as one of the world’s largest and most advanced development-ready heavy rare earth element assets, and we look forward to commissioning our Demonstration Plant at Makuutu.”



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.