Rare earths resource upgrade ‘should be substantial’, Ionic says
Special Report: Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR) has confirmed an “unexpected and material” high grade extension to rare earths mineralisation at the Makuutu Rare Earths Project in Uganda.
The aim of the Phase 2 drill program – testing an area three times bigger than the current 78.6Mt TREO resource – is threefold.
One, confirm Ionic’s exploration target of between 270Mt and 530Mt; two, calculate the potential of the 26km-long Makuutu mineralisation corridor; and three, provide data for an upcoming mineral resource upgrade.
All have proven successful, Ionic says, reporting that 44 of the 45 drill holes announced assayed above the existing resource cut-off grade.
Results have now been received for drilling in areas H, I & J with all showing positive results indicating that “the next resource upgrade should be substantial”, the company says.
Of particular interest are the results from Area J, which covers a radiometric anomaly 4km long by 1.5km wide, where drilling shows more kaolin clay visually in the drill core, which is a positive indicator for enhanced REE extraction, at higher average heavy rare earth content relative to the existing resource.
The big resource upgrade will be completed around Q1 next year once all drill hole assays have been reported.
Ionic chief exec Tim Harrison says these “unexpected and material” drill assays have identified elevated grades of Heavy Rare Earths across the project’s Eastern Zone.
“Encouragingly, this is coupled with more kaolin clay which we have previously correlated with above average metallurgical extraction,” he says.
“This extension of REE clay mineralisation is material on the impact of conversion of the exploration target to a mineral resource.
“Once again, the radiometric anomalies have been validated by the drill assay results, with the impact of the Karoo Basin margin now tested, this makes us much more confident in converting our exploration target to a mineral resource.”
Ionic is very confident of a robust, long life project potential at Makuutu, Harrison says.
“This extension demonstrates potential for a second processing module over in the eastern zone to further expand the production capacity of Makuutu, with scope to supply a considerable amount of heavy and critical rare earths, plus scandium, into a market that is exploring options for diversification of supply risk.”
This article was developed in collaboration with Ionic, 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.